TMJ: Lump in Throat, Jaw Pain and Clicking and Popping, also disturbes sleep, gastric reflux and morning headaches

Questions from Abbie

Migraines or other Headaches: Moderate to Severe

Headaches occur While sleeping or waking up in mornings

I experience Jaw Pain at rest, during chewing which lingers after chewing.
I experience Jaw joint clicking, popping, locking, or cracking, Neck pain or stiffness and Ear pain
Check all sleep disorder symptoms that apply

My sleep is disturbed with Waking up during the night and Fatigue during the day

I live with an almost constant feeling of a lump in the throat ( have undergone numerous tests which have shown nothing ‘nasty’ but signs of acid reflux, however treatment hasn’t cured it). I was born with an underbite, which isn’t blindingly obvious so has never bothered me looks wise however having looked into TMJ it could be the cause of my throat and jaw pain! This problem has been continuing for over 2 1/2 years. I really would like the “lump” in my throat gone more than any other symptom secondly would be my jaw – but I’d literally do anything in the world for the lump in my throat feeling to go! Almost anything for my jaw pain to go!

Dr Shapira Response:
Dear Abbie,
The constant lump in your throat can have numerous causes but one of the most frequent is referred feelings from trigger points in the Medial Pterygoid muscle though it can also be related to chronic gastric reflux. TMJD can definitely be the cause of all of your symptoms. Evaluation for sleep apnea or other sleep disorder is wise.

You may want to try eating raw ginger root after meals to speed peristalsis and help prevent gastric reflux. I frequently see patients with similar combinations of symptoms and treatment should begin with a diagnostic neuromuscular orthotic.

The feeling of the lump in the throat is usually easy to eliminate but you should be evaluated to remove the possibility of there being a growth or tumor that actually is a lump. This is rarely the case but caution wise.

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Abbie Response:
Dear Ira,
Thank you so much for your reply. Unfortunately for me I’m from the UK and I’ve just checked your site and I see you’re based in Chicago – May be a pricey appointment! That being the case I won’t waste any more of your time. (If there’s no one in the UK who offers what you do I’ll be flying over, make a holiday of it! I’m that desperate for it to go – I’m only 22!)

I’m going to look into diagnostic neuromuscular orthotic straight away and the ginger (I have it crushed up in smoothies at the moment, but will try it after meals too now)

Thanks again and I apologise for wasting your time, I got excited by the symptoms matching mine and failed to notice where you were!

Thanks again


Dr Shapira Response:
My pleasure.
There are no ICCMO members in the UK though there is one in France, 2 in Belgium, several in Italy and large groups in Germany and Russia. Check out
I frquently see long distance patients from across the US, but have also had patients from Greece, South Africa, Israel and South America. If you decide to come to Chicago we use special protocols for long distance patients.
Good Luck.