3 Things You Need to Know About TMJ Pain and How a Chiropractor Can Help

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is the joint that connects the jaw or mandible to the skull. It functions as a hinge that opens and closes the mouth. It also slides, moving the jaw downward and forward, allowing an individual to talk, chew, yawn, and more.


Many people suffer from TMJ pain or disorder. It is a chronic or acute inflammation of the joint that affects the jaw muscles, facial nerves, and joints. The following are things you need to know about TMJ pain.


What Is TMJ Pain?


The TMJ bones are separated by a cartilage disc that smooths jaw movement. When the disc is displaced or the muscles are irritated, it can affect the smoothness and cause pain or discomfort. The function is also affected when an individual has arthritis or other joint conditions. 


Signs of the disorder include jaw clicking or popping, joint or muscle tenderness, and inability to open the jaw wide. Other symptoms include headaches, neck pain, earache, dizziness, jaw soreness, jaw stiffness, and teeth sensitivity.


Types of TMJ Pain 


Individuals experience various types of TMJ pain, ranging from mild to severe. The most common type is pain in the neck and shoulder muscles that control the jaw (myofascial pain). 


Others are pain from a displaced or dislocated disc and pain due to a degenerative disease such as arthritis. Factors that increase the risk of developing TMJ disorder include jaw stress or injury and clenching and grinding the teeth.


Managing TMJ Pain


There are steps you can take to relieve TMJ pain. Avoiding extreme jaw movements, eating soft foods, and applying ice packs can relieve pain. You can also learn stress-reducing relaxation techniques and practice gentle jaw stretching to improve function. 


If you experience severe pain, get treatment. Soft tissue massage, spinal manipulation techniques, and jaw exercises can reduce the symptoms of TMJ disorder.  


What Causes TMJ Disorder?


TMJ disorder is a relatively common condition that affects almost 12% of the population. The condition can be due to various factors, including:


  • Degenerative joint disease.

  • Jaw trauma or injury.

  • Disc dislocation. 

  • Teeth grinding or clenching.

  • Hereditary factors. 

  • Infection. 

  • Ill-fitting dental restorations.

  • Auto-immune diseases.


Visiting a Chiropractor for TMJ Pain 


Visiting a chiropractor can help relieve TMJ pain. Chiropractors use various techniques to treat the condition. After analyzing your condition and checking for misalignments, the chiropractor will develop the best treatment plan. 


Chiropractic adjustments help reduce joint and muscle pain by loosening muscles and correcting alignment. Intraoral myofascial release involves releasing the muscles around the joint. The specialists access the muscles through the inner cheek. If the jaw is too tight, the chiropractor may recommend laser treatment.


If you experience TMJ pain, visit a chiropractor as soon as possible. Learning TMJ-related exercises will strengthen and loosen the jaw, improving movement. The chiropractor can also identify and correct posture issues that may affect the TMJ. Chiropractic care yields positive results and can help individuals of all ages. An individualized treatment plan will ensure the patient receives the best care.


For more on things you need to know about TMJ pain, visit The California Cranial Institute at our office in Los Gatos, California. Call (408) 395-8006 to book an appointment today.

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