Welcome to Dr. Park's blog. 


Dr. On Jung Park regularly wrote as part of The Health Column for The Korea Times.

She shared with the audience many self-diagnosis tips and how to help relieve many symptoms.

She wrote about many varieties of topics and suggested treatments for them.

Click on any of the articles below to read more about each topic. 

  • Dr. Park


Updated: Jul 6, 2018

The number of people visiting the hospital for TMJ disorder increases every year. The age group with TMJ disorder got younger compared to before. Analysis of “Overall Medical Personnel for TMJ Disorder” from 2008 to 2012 by Public Health Insurance Corporation shows annual increase of 9.3%.

TMJ disorder refers to a problem in disc, which connects the cranial and temporomandibular joint, bones of the joint, or overall alignment of the joints. Problem in the muscle around the jaw joint including in the masseteric muscle may rise; however, this disorder is not an exclusive dysfunction caused by a specific reason but rather is a complex dysfunction caused by various factors. Bad oral habits leading to TMJ disorder include the following: chewing food only on one side, habitually clenching the teeth, and eating hard food. Teeth grinding or sleep habits of lying on one’s stomach also affect the jaws negatively. Resting the chin over the hand, twisting the legs while sitting, leaning on one foot, pulling out the neck, and many other postural habits such as these cases trigger misalignment of the structure. Symptoms pointing to TMJ disorders is pain when opening the mouth or sound while chewing.

The temporomandibular joint is in between the skull and the cervical vertebrae, connected by jaw muscles as well as shoulder and neck muscles, which leads to tinnitus, facial asymmetry, indigestion, neck pain, sore back, and more. Main factor causing TMJ disorder is stress.

A person who is constantly under great stress goes through inexplicable anxiety and pain; these emotions surpass the psychological level and connect with physiological response, affecting the digestive system, heart, blood vessel, skin, and hormone system.

The temporomandibular joint is located in the upper part of the body, and the cerebral nerve including numerous nerves and vessels are concentrated around this joint. Once the balance of this joint is broken, not only does compression on the blood flow towards the head cause headache, but affect on secretion of neurotransmitters may cause anxiety and depression.

TMJ disorder can adversely affect normal life style, according to America’s scientific journal by “Plus One”: unemployed men were affected more, whereas women with stress and psychological problems were affected more with this disorder. TMJ disorder is one type of musculoskeletal pain disorder, and people more prone to have temporomandibular joint inflammation have tendency to have other musculoskeleral disorder, which affect the quality of life negatively.

Check-up of the body’s overall balance is necessary if there are other inexplicable pain in the body aside from the jaw pain. The reason is body imbalance not only causes imbalance of the jaw but also deformation of the facial region. Restoration of balance of the whole body relieves jaw pain, as well as head ache, shoulder pain, neck stiffness, sore back, and other pain. Instead of temporarily relieving the pain by taking pain killers, understanding and resolving the root cause of the problem as well as treatment and prevention of jaw pain can help maintain long-term health.

TMJ Self-Test:

1. Insert pinky finger into ear, and with the mouth opened, one side of the pinky feels tighter than the other,

2. When opening and closing the mouth, the jaw shifts with a ‘S’ shape as if the jaw is rolling over something,

3. When the index, middle, and fourth fingers stacked vertically cannot fit into the mouth.

TMJ Precautionary Rules:

1. Refrain from chewing hard food and gum,

2. Do not sleep only on one side, 3. Refrain from chewing one side only,

3. Do not rest your chin on hand or ground.

Published by KoreaTimes under <Health Column> on February 16, 2016.

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