What is TMJ Pain?
TMJ dysfunction, otherwise known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, is a type of musculoskeletal joint condition that affects the jaw joint and the ligaments and muscles surrounding the jaw that allow for chewing and lower jaw movement. This condition mainly affects the movement of the jaw itself, which is a hinge joint, causing the normal sliding hinge movement to be affected. Instead of a smooth movement at the jaw joints, clicking, grinding, or popping can occur which can cause instability in the joint resulting in pain and discomfort in the joint itself and the surrounding muscles. The jaw can even lock in position either open or closed and require pressure or force to restore normal movement which can be incredibly painful. This poor motion can increase muscle tension which can also increase pain and worsen TMJ symptoms. Other symptoms of TMJ can include tightness in the jaw and neck, a popping or clicking sound in the jaw while chewing or doing other extreme jaw movements, neck pain due to that increased tightness of the jaw and shoulder muscles, and headaches and skull pain. Those suffering from TMJ may find relief from eating soft foods that do not require much use of their teeth, or may try to alleviate symptoms of TMJ pain by massaging their jaw or using a mouth guard to reduce teeth grinding.
How Chiropractor Can Help Relieve Jaw Pain?
Temporomandibular joint disorders are among the musculoskeletal issues that chiropractic treatments can treat. Chiropractic treatment would involve gentle chiropractic adjustments of the jaw to improve the biomechanical movement of the jaw, reducing the jaw pain and correcting the misalignment and poor motion.
Does seeing a chiropractor help with TMJ?
Chiropractic treatment to treat TMJ jaw pain can help alleviate pain as well as reduce the possibility of negative symptoms which temporomandibular disorder can cause if left unchanged. Chiropractic treatment not only helps the movement of the temporomandibular joint itself, but can relieve the stress and pain that the muscular tension of the jaw can cause. Furthermore, chiropractic care for the spine, particularly the neck can also reduce pain by relieving musculoskeletal tension in the neck, and, as the nerves in the neck control the muscles in the jaw, adjusting the neck can also relieve the pain associated with TMJ. Chiropractic care of the whole body can benefit overall health by correcting spinal misalignment.
Should I go to a dentist or chiropractor for TMJ?
When dealing with temporomandibular dysfunction, both dentists and chiropractors can help reduce pain, however, when dealing with physical dysfunction of the joint, the best doctor to see for TMJ treatment is a chiropractor.