Popping and locking should only happen on the dance floor.
If you’re suffering from TMJ, a chiropractor can help!
Can you name the most used joint in the human body? It’s not your knee or your wrist…it’s your jaw!
Your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is a marvelous collection of bones, muscles, and disc tissue that (normally) work together to allow painless freedom of movement in the jaw. Sometimes, however, this system is thrown out of whack and that’s when the discomfort of TMJ rears its ugly head.
Fortunately there’s a way to stop TMJ disorders in their tracks.
In this article, we’ll talk about what TMJ is, why it occurs, and what your chiropractor can do to help.
What Is TMJ?
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder is a condition affecting the temporomandibular joint (i.e. the jaw joint) and surrounding muscles.
The temporomandibular joint is the spot where the temporal bone in the skull connects to the mandible, or jaw bone. A disc made of cartilage acts as a cushion to separate the bones and help them glide smoothly.
Every time you open your mouth to speak, laugh, floss, or take a bite of pizza, it is due to the temporomandibular joint.
Because you have one of these joints on each side of your jaw, TMJ can affect one or both sides and make daily life difficult. Those suffering from TMJ may even find it difficult to eat, talk, or brush their teeth.
Common Symptoms of TMJ
Like any disorder involving muscles, bones, and nerves, symptoms of TMJ can vary from person to person. However, most TMJ patients tend to complain of similar symptoms.
Some of the most common TMJ symptoms include:
- Jaw pain
- Neck pain
- Pain when chewing
- Headaches & migraines
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Clicking or popping in the jaw
- Soreness or tenderness in the jaw muscles
What Causes TMJ?
TMJ pain is caused when either the disc or the jaw bone is pulled from its regular position. This can sometimes occur when the surrounding muscles become too tight and place undue strain on your jaw. (If you’re interested, this video will give you a good idea of what TMJ looks like inside your body.)
Although no one is certain why TMJ disorders affect some people and not others, there are certain risk factors that can make you more susceptible:
- Clenching or grinding your teeth
- Injury or trauma to the jaw
- Holding your mouth open for long periods of time (such as at the dentist)
How a Chiropractor Can Help
In some cases, TMJ may go away on its own. But if you’ve ever been plagued by the characteristic pain and discomfort of TMJ, you don’t want to wait to get your life back.
Doctors and dentists will typically recommend pain-relievers and wait for the condition to abate. In fact, with enough time, a displaced disc can develop a new “pseudo-disc” that is completely functional and pain-free.
A chiropractor, on the other hand, will address the root cause of your symptoms.
TMJ chiropractic treatment usually begins with a localized massage and E-stim therapy to loosen tight muscles. Next, the chiropractor stretches the jaw muscles by guiding you through a set of exercises. Finally, s/he will perform an adjustment on your jaw and neck joints to bring everything back into alignment.
Chiropractic TMJ treatment targets the joint, surrounding muscles, and top two vertebrae of the neck to ensure that all potential causes are addressed.
Got TMJ? A Chiropractor Can Help!
TMJ disorders aren’t just painful, they make it nearly impossible to enjoy life the way you used to. Tender muscles, difficulty opening your mouth, and uncomfortable clicking can affect the way you eat, talk, and go about your day.
Luckily, TMJ is a condition that is often easily treated by your chiropractor.
At Oviedo Chiropractic, we’re equipped to treat TMJ, scoliosis, sciatica, car accident injuries, and any other ailment of your spine and/or joints. We also have evening and weekend appointments, so you don’t have to worry about squeezing us into your busy schedule.