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TMJ pain
 TMJ pain

Suffering from TMJ? Chiropractic care can help.

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or lockjaw is often thought to be chronic with few treatment options other than pain medications or surgery. TMJ is usually temporary and often caused by simple triggers like sleeping in the wrong position, dentist office visits, or symptoms of stress. TMJ can be caused by teeth grinding which can seem chronic but mostly because the cause is habitual. Many are surprised to discover than chiropractors treat TMJ on a regular basis.

What Is TMJ?
“Temporomandibular” refers to the temporal bones (lower lateral walls of the skull) and mandible (jaw) bones. These two sets of bones are connected at the joint by cartilage and soft tissues that act as a hinge that allows the jaw to open and close. TMJ is the name of this joint, which everyone has, but is often used to describe the pain and other issues with the joint itself. The actual name for problems with the joint or muscles surrounding the joint is TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder), but it is most commonly called TMJ. TMJ often involves the jaw joint moving out of alignment so that the normal smooth opening and closing motion is restricted.

Primary symptom of TMJ
The most obvious symptom of TMJ is the lack of mobility in the jaw. Pain can be so excruciating for some patients that they are unable to open their mouths wide.

Symptoms can also include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw joint area, face, temples, or neck and shoulders
  • Pain in or around the ear
  • Immobility of the jaw that feels stuck or locked
  • Popping or clicking sounds when opening or closing the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Facial swelling
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Earaches
  • Hearing problems
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Tooth pain

Causes of TMJ

  1. Leaving your mouth open for long periods of time during an extended dentist office visit for procedures like root canals and crowns can also trigger an episode of TMJ. Dental work can cause swelling in the joint area which can cause pain and discomfort.
  2. Sleeping in a position that puts pressure on one side of your jaw can also cause TMJ.
  3. One common cause of TMJ is teeth grinding. Many people who have issues with teeth grinding are given a night guard. If the night guard doesn’t bring relief, there is treatment available through chiropractic care.
  4. Stress can cause a person to clench their teeth which can also cause TMJ.

Chronic TMJ can be caused by arthritis or from an injury to the jaw, face, or neck. Because jaw muscles are supported by neck muscles, stress that causes tension in the neck and shoulders can also lead to TMJ.

How Chiropractic Care Helps TMJ
Chiropractors do special cranial work to rebalance and realign the jaw joint so the mandible bone sits correctly in the groove of the temporal bone, often bringing instant relief. Soft tissue massage in the jaw and temporal muscles can help increase mobility and reduce inflammation. An adjustment of the neck can help realign the neck vertebrae and help relieve tense muscles. Chiropractic adjustments also bring the body’s musculoskeletal structure back into alignment which can positively affect many symptoms in the body which also helps to reduce stress.

A chiropractic adjustment can also:

  • Increase neurological health
  • Decreases nerve irritation
  • Relieve tense muscles
  • Improve blood flow
  • Boost immunity
  • Strengthen spine support

For immediate relief
Step away from any stimulus and stress. Apply a cold pack for ten minutes. Focus on your breathing to relieve any mental tension. After the cold pack apply a warm cloth to the area. Make sure you eat soft foods and relax your jaw. Be sure to schedule an appointment with the Chiropractor to get the lasting treatment you need.