October 2, 1997 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD---Extensions of Remarks E1899
Proceedings of October 2, and October 3, 1997, Issue Nos. 135 and 136 are combined in this issue
JAW JOINTS - TMJ AWARENESS MONTH
HON. BARNEY FRANK
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Tuesday, September 30, 1997
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I would like to call to my colleagues’ attention the designation of this coming November and all, future. Novembers as Jaw Joints-TMJ Awareness Month. In Washington’s world of abbreviations and acronyms, TMJ is not one of the better known. Temporomandibular Joint Disorders are among the more painful, yet least well understood disorders affecting people today. While estimates of the number of people in this country affected by TMJ disorders run into the millions, these disorders are often mistaken for other ailments or presumed to be psychological in nature.
In light of the difficulties that exist in diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders, it is clearly very appropriate to establish an awareness month, and I applaud the Jaw Joints & Allied Musculo-Skeletal Disorders Foundation for helping organize this effort. The foundation, which is based in Boston, was created and is presided over by two extremely dedicated Massachusetts residents named Renée and Milton Glass. They have .been an excellent source of information to me over the years about TMJ and related matters, and, although this November Is officially TMJ Awareness Month, it is also in many ways a tribute to their dedication and hard work in the cause of helping those who suffer from this disorder.
As part of that work, Renee and Milton Glass and their colleagues are going to be involved in two important TMJ-related events in Washington in November. On November 20 and 21, the National Institutes of Health will be holding a workshop entitled “New Directions in Pain Research, which will include. some discussion of TMJ. On November 22, the TMJ Association’s annual meeting, with participation by the Foundation, will take place at the NIH. Both events will no doubt make valuable contributions to the goals of TMJ Awareness Month.
Mr.. Speaker, because I share the Glass’ belief in the importance of making the. public more aware of the effects of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders, I ask that the attached material describing TMJ in more detail, as well as the foundation’s mission statement, be entered into the Congressional Record.
JAW JOINTS -TMJ AWARENESS MONTH
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders, commonly referred to as “TMJ,” afflict millions of Americans, both children and adults of both sexes and all races.
TMJ is a painful and often disabling disorder that emanates from the Jaw Joints and can affect the health of the entire neuromusculo-skeletal system often spreading and dysfunction throughout the entire body.
The Jaw Joints are the most special and complex joints in the entire anatomy. While similar to other joints-cushioned by cartilage, held together by. ligaments, and moved by muscles activated by nerves--they differ in their structure which allows them to perform more functions than the other joints in the body, allowing the mandible [lower jaw]to function in a five-way movement, i.e., from side-to-side, forward-and-backward, up-and-down, and to “open wide. Due to their location, the Jaw Joints are the pathway for motor and sensory activities to and from the brain to the rest of the body.
• Disorders to the Jaw Joints, therefore, can upset the delicate balance of the. neuromusculo-skeletal Systems. Some of the diverse symptoms of this multi-faceted TMJ disorder include inability to open or close the mouth freely, difficulty, in chewing and swallowing, headache, eye pain, ringing and pain in. the ears, leg cramps, fatigue, and pain to the muscles throughout the entire body. Many of the symptoms mimic or overlap with many other disorders, thereby creating the popular designation for TMJ as “The Great Impostor,” and its sufferers as “Prisoners of Pain.” While they are orthopedic joints like all other joints in the body, care for the Jaw Joints and-disorders to them “falls between the cracks” of medicine and dentistry, but is largely directed into a dental and psychosomatic realm. Despite the myriad of symptoms usually treated by physicians and other non-dental health. providers, TMJ has not yet been established as a legitimate medical disorder, thereby denying millions of Americans their fair entitlements to health insurance and other benefits, as well as their dignity and deprive them of decent quality of life. TMJ patients therefore, are further penalized by being physically, emotionally, and financially broken.
• The nation’s pioneer TMJ patient advocacy organization, established in 1982, the Jaw Joints Allied Musculo-Skeletal Disorders Foundation, Inc. (JJAMD) is headquartered in Boston,” Massachusetts. Among its many goals and missions is the broader recognition of the importance of healthy Jaw Joints to good oral and general health.
• To establish in-school programs to educate teachers and parents the importance and function of the Jaw Joints as well as safety and prevention of injury to the Jaw Joints in sports, play, and daily activities.
• JJAMD advocates for recognition by the Medical profession and their Societies, Center for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Arthritis Foundation, and all others, concerning the need to include the Jaw Joints along with all other joints for inclusion in their programs, appropriate comprehensive research, and reporting in the medical and dental literature.
• JJAMD also encourages the Dental Profession to work with the Medical Profession and to establish a requisite TMJ Specialty training within their professional schools;
• JJAMD advocates for the creation of medical models and medical protocols for the necessary appropriate health. insurance coverage for TMJ patients. This will help to end the discrimination against millions of Americans who suffer with this disorder with disastrous results including the thousands who have had silicone joint implants which have failed. To this end, JJAMD has sponsored independent research, holds free public lectures, encourages support-self-help groups and has organized and conducted professional lectures and national seminars. JJAMD has received the support of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in many of its activities and has become allied with another leading patient advocacy organization, The TMJ Association, Ltd., in. efforts to support all TMJ sufferers around the country.
The ultimate aim of these actions is to alleviate the untold preventable human suffering of those afflicted with TMJ as well as the needless high costs of health care associated therewith. By designating November of each years as “Jaw Joints-TMJ Awareness Month” awareness can be increased among all Americans, and in particular those in a position to help treat, insure, provide appropriate research, and ultimately to prevent this scourge in our nation.
Jaw Joints & Allied Musculo-Skeletal Disorders Foundation, Inc.
WHO WE ARE
The Jaw Joints & Allied Musculo-Skeletal Disorders Foundation, Inc. [JJAMD] is a 501c non-profit charitable national educational, research, and advocacy organization. It works in promoting awareness, prevention, research, and knowledge of the Jaw Joints to whole body health. The disorder to the TemporoMandibular Joints [i.e. in layperson’s terms the “Jaw Joints”] is mostly known as “TMJ Disorders.” TMJ is one of the most pervasive”, least understood, and controversial health disorders in existence today. TMJ is now acknowledged as a component in other disorders, and is also called by a variety of other names and acronyms, adding to the controversy.
JJAMD expresses its vision through the use of an axiom that “Life Revolves Around the Jaw Joints in Every Motor and Sensory activity 24 hours a day, awake or asleep.” JJAMD believes that the disorder to these TemporoMandibular Joints--known primarily as “TMJ Disorder”--is largely preventable through a responsible and high quality program of public awareness and education.
The specific mission of JJAMD is to network with TMJ patients, the general public, health providers and their affiliations and societies, governmental agencies, insurers, and through liaison with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in order to:
• Foster appropriate comprehensive public awareness, knowledge, education, research, and information concerning the TemporoMandibular Joints [the Jaw Joints]--how they are structured, their function, and their relationship to the whole body for general good health.
• Promote prevention of disorders and diseases to the Jaw Joints and advocate for appropriate comprehensive perception, medical/dental classification, diagnoses, and treatments for TMJ Disorders.
• Foster self-help-support groups through a National TMJ Alliance.
• Exchange information with other organizations who deal with disorders containing a TMJ component or relationship.
• Encourage the Medical and Dental professions to work together in a multidisciplinary team effort to create a medical model, protocols for appropriate research, diagnoses, treatments, and responsible health insurance coverage.
• Enlist the Medical/Dental School educators, and emergency medical staff, to include within their curricula, the routine teaching of the TemporoMandibular Joints [TMJ] and the disorders and diseases to them.
*This is a copy of the original Proclamation as printed in the Congressional Record