The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the name given to the pair of joints that connect the jaw to the skull. The term “TMJ” or “TMD” is also often used to describe dysfunction of this joint.
The causes of TMJ include:
• Poor alignment of the jaw
• Poor neck posture
• Misalignment of the neck joints
• Teeth grinding (bruxism)
• Direct impact and injury to the jaw
• Overuse due to excessive chewing
• Long dental procedures and orthodontics.
When the TMJ is injured, the joint becomes inflamed, which alters the mechanics of the jaw and upper neck. This can cause severe symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of TMJ?
Symptoms of TMJ disorder includes:
• Difficulty chewing
• Decreased ability to open the mouth • Locking of the jaw
• Popping and clicking sounds • Headaches
Chronic sufferers may experience headaches, dizziness, earaches and even difficulty hearing.
Pain from the TMJ can radiate to the face, head, neck or shoulders, and muscles around the jaw and neck can become very tight and tender.
What is the Treatment for TMJ?
Treatment for TMJ disorder aims to reduce inflammation and restrore normal movement to the joint. This will involve the following steps:
• Chiropractic adjustment of the upper neck (and some-
times the jaw)
• Soft tissue therapy to tight muscles of the jaw
• Ice to the jaw area
• Eating softer foods
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• Anti-inflammatory medication
• Wearing a bite guard in the mouth at night • Dental work to correct severe bite problems.
Chiropractic Care for TMJ
Chiropractic care can correct the function of the jaw and upper neck and the surround- ing muscles. This will reduce the symptoms associated with TMJ and ensure relapse is less likely to occur.
Chiropractic treatment may include:
• Adjustment of the neck and jaw joints • Massage to the involved musculature • Home exercises and advice
The aim of chiropractic treatment is to stretch, strengthen and balance the jaw muscles, mobilize the joint itself and make sure the jaw and neck joints move properly.
In addition to this, your Chiropractor may give some home exercises to assist rehabilitation of the jaw. When done successfully, this will not only relieve pain in the short term, but it will help prevent TMJ pain from returning.
At Caulfield Family Chiropractic we are trained and experienced in the
management of TMJ disorder.
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