Approximately 12% of Americans experience TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) pain. The condition causes pain and discomfort in or around the jaw, and can lead to further issues such as headaches, neck pain, even dizziness and other neurological symptoms. A Chiropractic Physician can often help remedy the condition by reducing pain, improving mechanics of jaw motion, improving function, and even eliminating the condition due to underlying causation. Many Doctors of Dentistry routinely refer to our clinic to remedy the condition for their patients.
Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) – more commonly known as TMJ – is a blanket term for acute or chronic inflammation and/or dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (which is what connects your jaw to your skull). TMJ refers to a wide variety of conditions that affect the TM joints, jaw muscles, and sometimes even facial/cranial nerves.
The Temporomandibular joint (TMJ), can be found on either side of your head and it exists to connect the lower jaw bone (the mandible) to the temporal bones of the skull on each side of the head. The muscles controlling the joints are attached to the mandible and other areas such as your neck, and allow the jaw to move. When you open your mouth, the rounded upper ends of the mandible on each side of the jaw glide along the joint socket at the base of the skull. Then when you close your mouth they slide back to their original position. This is where many people with TMJ may hear popping in their jaw.
TMJ is very common, and the causes may include injury/trauma to the jaw, teeth grinding while awake or sleeping, clenching, nail-biting, degenerative joint diseases like arthritis, infections, dental care, autoimmune diseases and more. Approximately 12% of the US population is experiencing TMJ symptoms at any time, and many of them are unaware that a chiropractor can help with the condition.
TMJ has a range of symptoms including pain in or around the ear, headaches, neck pain, jaw pain and soreness, jaw pain when biting or chewing, difficulty opening and closing the mouth, popping or clicking noises when opening the mouth, jaw stiffness, tinnitus, dizziness, other neurological symptoms, and even sensitive teeth. Often this occurs when no other dental problems can be found. The wide range of these symptoms shows just how much your jaw muscles impact the surrounding joints and muscles.
How Chiropractic Can Help Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
The main focus of chiropractic treatment for TMD is to alleviate pain and improve function in the jaw and surrounding muscles. This is done by using a combination of techniques such as manual adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and exercises to help improve mechanics of the jaw, reduce muscle tension, and improve flexibility. Chiropractors may also address the neck (Cervical spine), as well as the upper back (Thoracic spine) and shoulders, as these areas are integral to proper jaw functionality. By addressing any joint fixations, or restrictions in these areas, chiropractors can help reduce tension and improve or normalize mobility in the jaw.
A chiropractor’s treatment often includes manual adjustments, soft tissue therapy, exercises, photobiomodulation (laser therapy), electric stimulation, and more. The adjustment helps to stabilize proper function, motion and position, while reducing adverse conditions that may impair normal function and cause compensatory muscle tightness, dysfunction and more. The soft tissue treatment often provides pain relief and helps to increase healing. Adjustments from a chiropractor can resolve TMJ pain stemming from poor jaw alignment, stress, grinding teeth (bruxism), and jaw injury. The sessions will also often relieve neck pain, tension, headaches, and cavitations (cracking and popping sounds).
Integrated Health Care Approach for TMD
TMJ pain can be due to many factors. A Doctor of Chiropractic can be part of a larger team of healthcare professionals as the condition may require a combined approach involving acupuncture, adjustments, physical therapy, massage, functional medicine, other physicians, your dental specialist, and perhaps even lifestyle changes.
We Are Here to Help!
Dr. Lane and his Chiropractic Physicians have been successfully treating Temporomandibular joint dysfunction in the community for years. Many Doctors of Dentistry and other dental healthcare professionals routinely refer their patients to Delmarva Chiropractic, and enjoy tremendous success in the resolution of their condition. Dr. Lane has also had the privilege of lecturing to the Maryland Dental Assistant Association, as well as several professional dentistry associations regarding TMD, as well as the neurology of the Temporomandibular joint and associated neurological considerations.