The temporal mandibular joint, commonly referred to as “TMJ,” is the most heavily worked joint in the body. Because this joint connects the mandible (or “lower jaw”) to the skull, the TMJ plays a primary role in chewing, swallowing, talking and yawning. These are all activities which we engage in day in and day out. Thus it’s important that the TMJ is in good working order. Yet TMJ Dysfunction, or TMD, affects approximately 35 percent of the population. For those looking to correct their symptoms and minimize their pain, chiropractic treatment can be a helpful procedure.
There are a number of behavioral factors that increase TMD susceptibility. Missing teeth in the mouth can sometimes cause jaw displacement that leads to TMD. Similarly, injuries sustained from a car accident, such as whiplash or facial trauma, can bring on TMD. But most commonly, TMD comes about as a result of teeth grinding and jaw clenching. This generally takes place subconsciously and while the sufferer is sleeping.
TMD is often accompanied by pain and tenderness in the jaw and face. But these symptoms can reach all the way down into the neck and shoulders. Pain is often made worse when a sufferer turns their head to the side or engages their jaw in chewing movements. Additionally, TMD may cause the jaw to get temporarily locked-up in an open or closed position. Those suffering from TMD may experience swelling on either one or both sides of their face, as well as clicking and grating noises when they work their jaw to chew.
TMD: The Chiropractic Approach
A chiropractor will seek to correct your TMD symptoms by reducing tension and stress in the jaw and surrounding area. They will tailor their treatment based on the severity of your condition and your medical history. In the most common cases of TMD, which are brought on by jaw grinding and clenching, a chiropractor will make use of deep tissue massage. This type of massage will increase blood circulation and help to disperse tension. They may also use intra-oral work or cold laser therapy – both of these techniques can help to increase the mobility of the temporomandibular joint and diminish pain.
If you suffer from TMD, be sure to consider chiropractic treatment as a relief option.