Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ/TMD) is a term used to describe any inflammation of the temporomandibular joint which connects the skull to the jawbone. TMJ/TMD is a fairly common diagnosis that covers a range of varying symptoms. TMJ/TMD can present itself occasionally, or can develop into a chronic issue. Most often, the symptoms experienced will go away when the movement of the joint is stopped. It can occur in the joint on one side or both sides of the head, causes jaw pain, and is sometimes accompanied by a grinding or popping noise in the ears. There are a number of different treatment methods to attack the issue of TMJ/TMD, and chiropractic care can significantly reduce or eliminate flare-ups.

What is TMJ?

TMJ/TMD is caused by the joint of the jaw and skull that sits in front of the ears. The joint, which is meant to absorb any shock of the jaw, can lose the cushioning it provides when there is a breakdown of cartilage in between the bone. Myofascial pain, which is pain in the shoulder, jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles, can also be lead to TMJ/TMD. Finally, a dislocated jaw or 13866052723_2020820f89_zdislocated disk, and degenerative joint disease may be the root of TMJ/TMD. Even emotional stress and tension can cause the joints and muscles become strained and sore, causing pain and other symptoms. There are several specific recognized triggers for TMJ/TMD including a misaligned bite, the continuous stress of chewing, trauma to the side of the head or jaw, and grinding the teeth. Dental restoration that creates a bite imbalance can also lead to TMJ/TMD.
There are a number of different symptoms that TMJ/TMD can cause. Pain in the head and jaw; as well as headaches, are the most common complaints. The pain may be a shooting pain or a dull soreness. There may be a pain behind the eyes and in the ears. Often, the ability to fully open the mouth may be limited. The jaw may also lock open or closed. Popping, clicking, and grating sounds may be heard when the joint is opened and closed, and vertigo or dizziness can result. You may experience pain in the cheek muscles, mouth and teeth discomfort, neck pain, sore throat, and even arm and finger numbness or pain are possible. It is often difficult and painful to chew, and can be difficult to swallow.

Diagnosis and Treatment

To determine if the issues present are in fact TMJ/TMD, the chiropractor will complete an examination and ask some questions about your activity and symptoms, as well as your overall health. Watching your bite and chewing, the chiropractor will examine the dimensions of the joint and the movement and balance of muscles. The amount you can open your mouth may be measured, and is some cases the use of imaging such as x-ray and MRI can be used to confirm any diagnosis.

Treatment of TMJ/TMD may involve a number of different activities or actions. In general, a treatment plan including heat and ice, the avoidance of jaw movements that can intensify the condition, and stretches and exercises will be recommended. The chiropractor will be able to educate you on the proper use of these treatment methods. Chiropractic manipulation, massage, and trigger point therapy may also be recommended. A focus on relaxation and stress reduction may be provided as one of the main goals of treatment is to reduce the swelling and tension of the muscles. In some cases, a mouth guard may be used to help reduce clenching, and dental treatments or surgery may be needed for the most severe cases. Often, an over the counter anti-inflammatory such as aspirin can be helpful to relieve the pain short-term.

Chiropractic care, as well as a plan for treatment has proven to be extremely successful to reduce or eliminate the issues caused by TMJ/TMD. Studies have shown that many TMJ/TMD sufferers experienced immediate pain relief with chiropractic treatment, and nearly all show that an improvement in the ability to open the mouth as well as a reduction in pain.

Accelerate Chiropractic Can Relieve Your TMJ/TMD Symptoms!

At Accelerate Chiropractic, we are able to educate you on the issues causing your TMJ/TMD, and we work closely with you to regain pain-free comfort and mobility. Dr. Dave Yancey and Dr. Erika Yancey are passionate about providing treatment that gets you back to normal function quickly. Learn about our experience and contact us today to schedule your personalized consultation. It’s time to reclaim the freedom that comes with mobility and comfort through Accelerate Chiropractic’s care.
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