TMJ disorder is often described as sharp or throbbing pain in the face, jaw joint area, neck, shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide. It affects the muscles, nerves, and “hinge” joint where the jaw meets the skull. What are some common symptoms, causes, and alternative treatment options?
What Is TMJ?
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research defines Temporomandibular Joint and muscle disorders, commonly called “TMJ,” as a “group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement.” The pain and inflammation can be in one or both joints, and can affect everything from a person’s ability to speak, swallow, chew, and make facial expressions, to simply breathing. Symptoms include:
- Pain or stiffness in the jaw muscles, neck, and shoulders
- Chronic headaches
- Limited movement or locking of the jaw
- Ear pain, pressure, fullness, ringing in the ears
- Painful clicking, popping, or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
- A bite that feels “off”
- Vision problems
According to the TMJ Association, approximately 12% of the population or 35 million people in the United States are affected by this disorder at any given time.
What Causes TMJ?
In some cases, TMJ pain can result from something like an abrupt jolt or trauma which may dislocate the joint, grinding or clenching the teeth during sleep, or conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Complications can arise from spinal misalignments and congenital conditions. Because the spine regulates nerve signals throughout the entire body, even small misalignments in the head and neck will contribute to nerve pressure and muscle strain in the jaw and surrounding areas. While for most people, discomfort from TMJ eases with some behavior modifications or mild treatment, for some, it develops into a significant, long-term problem that can cause serious complications. What are treatment alternatives when moderate remedies aren’t resolving the issues?
Chiropractic Care For TMJ Disorders
Chiropractic Care for TMJ is an important alternative to more extreme options like injections or surgery, and early intervention can prevent long term conditions from developing. Certified, experienced Chiropractors can provide:
- Massage to relieve tense muscles in the face, head, neck, and back that are encouraging the jaw to clench or causing pain
- Precise chiropractic adjustments to shift misaligned spinal bones which may be impinging nerves in the face, head, and neck
- Repositioning of the jaw joint, through trigger point manipulation
- Stress reduction methods, as stress is a major factor in TMJ disorders
- Therapy exercises to help strengthen the joint, loosen tight muscles, and improve posture
Is TMJ Pain Affecting Your Life?
TMJ conditions can have a painful impact on your life. If left unresolved, jaw joint instability and pain can lead to serious complications, including jaw disc erosion, and further nerve impingement or spinal misalignment as you compensate for the discomfort. Contact Advanced Wellness and Rehabilitation today for a free TMJ care consultation.