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TMJ Disorders and How a Chiropractor Can Help

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) affect approximately 20% of adults at some point during their lives. The TMJ consists of two joints located near the ear and behind the lower teeth. These joints allow movement between the upper and lower jaws. When these joints become damaged or misaligned, they can cause discomfort or even severe problems such as headaches, neck pain, facial pain, toothaches, or trouble chewing food.


Chiropractors are trained to diagnose and treat TMJ conditions using manual manipulation techniques. They also educate patients about prevention strategies, including proper nutrition, exercise, and stress management. Patients who receive regular care from a chiropractor see significant improvements in symptoms. For example, studies show that chiropractic treatment reduces pain levels by 50%, improves sleep quality by 80%, and increases overall health scores by 40%.

Signs and Symptoms of TMJ

The signs and symptoms of TMJ vary depending on which part of the jaw is affected. Some common symptoms include:

Can a Chiropractor Help Fix TMJ?

Many people think that seeing a dentist will fix their TMJ issues, but there are also many other ways that chiropractors can help you. Chiropractors use gentle, safe spinal adjustments to realign your spine so that it works properly. This allows your muscles to relax and your nerves to function normally. By restoring the normal alignment of your spine, your jaw becomes free to move correctly without causing any damage. TMJ pain occurs when one or more of the joints inside your mouth become inflamed or injured. Your brain sends signals to your body telling it to tense up or opens your mouth. If this happens over time, it can lead to muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain. These symptoms are similar to those experienced with back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tennis elbow.

How Does It Work?

When your head tilts forward or backward, your molars press against each other. These teeth then rub against your cheekbone. Over time, the pressure can irritate the tissues around your jaw joints. This inflammation causes swelling and tenderness. Eventually, the ligaments connecting your jawbones loosen and may stretch out of place. This abnormal position of the jaw bones makes them grind together, causing friction and irritation. As a result, you experience pain. There are several methods chiropractors can use to help relieve TMJ pain. One way is through an adjustment to your spine. Another option is to apply heat to the area where the problem is occurring. You can also take certain medications to reduce the pain.

What Does a Chiropractor Do For TMJ?

A chiropractor can perform a variety of treatments for TMJ pain. He or she may recommend specific exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles. Chiropractors may also suggest dietary changes to encourage you to avoid foods that require intense chewing and put further tension on the jaw. These solutions work because chiropractic care helps optimize the functioning of your nervous system. Nerves carry messages throughout your body, allowing information to be sent quickly to areas that need attention. When your nerves do not work properly, you may feel pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness. Chiropractors can help restore the normal flow of nerve impulses that stop working properly and create imbalances in your body. Research shows that chiropractic care can improve the health of millions of Americans every year. Studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments can ease lower back pain, neck pain, headaches, arthritis, asthma, allergies, and even some types of cancer. With proper treatment, chiropractors can help alleviate the pain associated with TMJ disorders.

Chiropractic Adjustments

The purpose of chiropractic adjustments is to realign the vertebrae (spinal column) to their natural position. This restores the balance between the various parts of the body and improves overall health. Since the head has no bone structure, only the spinal column holds the head upright. If this column is misaligned, the head cannot remain balanced on top of the shoulders. Instead, it slides downward, which puts stress on the muscles that hold the head in place. Repeated stress on these muscles forces them to tighten and pull, which leads to tension headaches, stiff necks, and shoulder aches.

Adjusting the Spine

The spinal column consists of 24 bones called vertebrae. They make up the backbone of the human body. At birth, they are all aligned in their correct positions. However, as people age, their bodies develop problems such as arthritis, osteoporosis, injuries, and diseases. These conditions can cause misalignment of the vertebrae. During an adjusting session, the chiropractor will first examine your whole spine from head to toe. Next, he or she will look at each vertebra. Once this is completed, the chiropractor uses his or her hands to gently manipulate the vertebrae into their correct positions. The chiropractor listens to your feedback so he or she can assess whether you are feeling any improvement.

When Should I See My Chiropractor?

If you suffer from chronic pain, see your doctor first. Your primary physician may refer you to a specialist who can give you more targeted advice about your condition. A chiropractor can provide relief for many kinds of pain, including those caused by TMJ disorders.

TMJ Disorders Are Common Among Athletes

Many athletes experience symptoms of TMJ disorders. The most common signs include grinding sounds when chewing food, sore spots on the face, jaw stiffness, and facial pain. Other symptoms include earaches, ringing in the ears, dizziness, and headache. Some athletes have difficulty sleeping at night due to pain in the jaw area.

Other Treatment Options

There are several treatments available for TMJ disorders. You should discuss your options with your healthcare provider before choosing one. Treatment options include:
  • Relaxation Exercises like meditating can help relieve muscle spasms. During relaxation sessions, you lie down comfortably while breathing deeply. As you breathe in, you focus on relaxing your mind and body. Then, as you exhale, you think of something pleasant that makes you happy. Repeat this process until you feel calm and relaxed.
  • Massage Therapy is another way to relax your muscles. While lying on your back, your therapist will apply firm pressure along specific areas of your body. He or she may use a variety of techniques, including kneading, tapping, rubbing, stretching, and deep tissue massage.
  • Medications are sometimes used to treat TMJ disorders. For example, over-the-counter antihistamines relieve symptoms associated with allergies and colds. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) reduce inflammation. Muscle relaxants ease tightness and pain in the neck and jaw muscles.
  • Speaking to your doctor about injections is an option if medications don’t work well enough. An injection delivers medicine directly into your tissues, or sometimes into the joints themselves.
  • Surgery can be performed on some people with TMJ disorders. This treatment involves removing damaged bone and cartilage from the joint. It’s usually done because other methods aren’t effective.

Key Takeaways

To sum up, TMJ disorders affect the jaw joint. They’re often present during sleep and can cause headaches, earaches, toothaches, and sore throats. They’re also linked to stress and tension. When they occur, they often result in discomfort and pain. Fortunately, there are many ways to get rid of these problems. A chiropractor can perform simple adjustments to improve the alignment of your bones and joints.

If you are interested in chiropractic treatment for TMJ disorders or another health concern, search, compare, and book an appointment with a care provider in your area using medimap.ca

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