Of the many conditions that chiropractors can help with, the jaw does not typically come to mind. Chiropractors are usually associated with helping individuals relieve their back, neck, and even nerve pain. However, did you know that chiropractors could also help you find pain relief for temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, also referred to as TMJ?
What is TMJ?
According to the National Institute of Health (https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/winter10/articles/winter10pg15a.html), temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders are a group of conditions that affect the muscles controlling jaw movement. The temporomandibular joint connects your jawbone to your skull, acting like a sliding hinge. This allows you to talk, chew, and swallow. The exact cause of a TMJ disorder is difficult to pinpoint for any individual, as there are many factors that can contribute to this condition such as genetics, arthritis, and jaw injury.
The discomforts of TMJ can range from mildly annoying, to completely debilitating. Individuals who have jaw pain also tend to clench and grind their teeth. This may lead to additional dental issues over time. Besides the grinding of teeth, TMJ can cause pain and discomfort both temporarily and chronically. The following are signs and symptoms of TMJ:
- Pain or tenderness of the jaw
- Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
- Aching pain in the ear, face, jaw, or cheek
- Clicking, grating, or popping sounds in the jaw when you open and close your mouth
- Locking of the jaw joint
Why a chiropractor for TMJ?
As mentioned, there are many factors that can cause TMJ. Meeting with a chiropractor can help explore the potential causes and treat the issue rather than just the symptoms. The most common causes of TMJ include injury, and rheumatoid arthritis. In the case of an injury, a chiropractor can help asses if your body is misaligned, which may be contributing to TMJ. Specialized exercises, as well heat and cold treatments may also be provided to help strengthen the necessary muscles and provide pain relief. For cases where rheumatoid arthritis is the culprit, a chiropractor can help relieve not only the pain associated with your TMJ, but also with your rheumatoid arthritis. This not only aids with your TMJ condition, but also improves overall body health.
If you are experiencing any pains or discomforts associated with TMJ, consider a consult with the chiropractic doctor Shawnee, KS offers. Treatments, advice, and exercises given are specifically designed to help eliminate the underlying cause of the problem and reestablish normal jaw function.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at LifeWorks Integrative Health for their insight into alternative medicine and how a chiropractor can help with TMJ.