Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

TMJWhile the reasons for Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) have yet to be ascertained, it is generally believed to occur because of the following reasons:

1. Wear and tear on one’s Temporomandibular joint’s cartilage lining occurs because of teeth grinding and teeth clenching (bruxism). This is done either in times of stress or while sleeping due to habit. Oftentimes, teeth grinders are unaware they are doing so, and have to bear jaw or ear pain. In extreme cases, their jaw locks as well.

2. Misalignment of the jaw, resulting in difficulty while chewing one’s food, or using only one side of your jaw to chew has also caused TMJ disorder.

3. Any sort of injury or trauma to the jaw, for example, whiplash, can also lead to TMJ disorders.

Aside from the above-mentioned symptoms, there can be a radiating pain from the face, head, to the neck and shoulders. There can also be restricted jaw movement, a popping or clicking sound in the jaw, and in chronic cases headaches, dizziness, earaches and even difficulty hearing.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder: Treatment

The pain caused by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can be relieved via chiropractic care by correcting the incorrect alignment between the spine and nervous system. Either used alone or with other treatments, chiropractic care can be effective at reducing TMJ-associated pain. A skilled chiropractor can help ease the muscles surrounding the jaw, bring movement back to a joint once its adjusted properly, and use precise adjustments which will act as trigger points on the muscles to accurately re-position the jaw. The correct treatment will result in not only short-term pain relief, but long-term prevention of TMJ.

Both the inside and outside of the mouth are worked on when employing chiropractic treatment for the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Using massage and trigger point therapy, the muscles around the joints are adjusted. A very sensitive area made of muscle fibers is known as ‘trigger point’. When pressure is applied to them, they may hurt or cause a twitching response. A skilled chiropractor knows just how to manipulate trigger points so that relief can be found from the pain.
Trigger points common to TMJ include:

  • Trapezius muscle, located at the base of the neck. Manipulating this trigger point can influence the areas behind the ear, at the temple and at the jaw bone.
  • Sternocleidomastoid muscle, located along the neck from the collarbone to the ear. This trigger point can be used to relieve pain in the forehead, front of the jaw and around the eye socket.
  • Masseter muscle, located at the back of the jaw. This refers to pain in the upper jaw, ear and above the eye.
  • Lateral and Medial Pterygoid muscles, located behind the molars on the jaw. These trigger points influence pain, clicking and locking in the TMJ, as well as pain in the ear, nose, lower jaw, and the neck.

An adjustment technique for the joints which is also done by hand causes a tiny stretch inside the joint to detach any fibrous attachments which the body made due to previous trauma. In order to loosen tight muscles and strengthen the joint, your chiropractor may also assign some home exercises.

Improper posture or even a back or neck problem is sometimes the culprit for jaw misalignment and TMJ disorder. One of the most preferred methods of resolving TMJ caused by these issues is to adjust the affected spinal joints via chiropractic care. Not only this, but massage therapy can also be employed by the chiropractor to loosen stressed muscles surrounding the spine. This significantly diminishes tension on the jaw, and ensures that other treatments to adjust the jaw will be more effective.

Due to these healing techniques, jaw joint movement recovers and related symptoms such as ear pain, jaw locking, headaches, and neck pain can be diminished.

To find out more about TMJ (Jaw) and how to resolve it, contact Morgan Creek Family Chiropractic in Surrey.