What Can Chiropractic Care Do For TMJ Pain?
It is quite well known how chiropractic care can alleviate various types of body aches. However, it appears that people are yet to realize the full potential of this care and the impact it has. People often associate chiropractor care with spinal alignment and similar issues. But the truth is that it has a lot more to offer.
One such situation wherein chiropractic care can make a world of difference is TMJ pain. If you experience jaw pain and tenderness or if your jaw makes a popping sound with movement, it indicates that you have TMJ pain. Indeed, the condition isn't really rare, but few know how to deal with it. So what can chiropractic care do for TMJ pain?
Chiropractic TMJ adjustments alleviate the pain significantly as the treatment aims to loosen up the jaw muscles. These adjustments provide instant relief and don't take up a lot of time either.
But how do chiropractic adjustments work? And what can be expected when you avail chiropractic care for TMJ pain? There's a lot that needs to be known about this.
A Brief Understanding Of TMJ
First things first, you need to learn more about TMJ. TMJ refers to the temporomandibular disorder wherein there is an acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint. This is the joint connecting the mandible to the skull. TMJ encompasses many conditions affecting the TM joints, facial nerves and jaw muscles.
The TM joint primarily has two functions. For one thing, it acts as a hinge for opening and closing the mouth. Additionally, it performs the sliding function wherein the lower jaw moves down and forward, enabling you to chew, sing, and yawn and so on. Needless to say, any hindrance in these two movements can be quite problematic.
As you open your mouth, the upper ends of the mandible on either side of the jaw move along the joint socket. They slide back to their position once the mouth is closed. Sometimes as the mandible goes back into its original position on closing the mouth, a clicking sound is heard. This is an indication of TMJ.
You would be surprised how common TMJ is, particularly in the younger age group. Indeed, nearly 12% of the US population suffers from this condition. It can be attributed to a variety of causes. Some of these include
- Injury or trauma to the jaw
- Degenerative joint diseases
- Teeth grinding
- Autoimmune diseases
- Disc dislocation
- Ill-fitting dental fillings that make bite uneven
- Hereditary condition
Apart from the popping sound made when the mouth closes, there are quite a lot of other symptoms that can indicate TMJ.
- Neck pain
- Soreness in the jaws
- Aggravation in pain with biting or chewing
- Jaw stiffness
- Sensitivity in teeth with no other dental problems
People usually believe there isn't much that can be done about the TMJ pain. They have to live with it. However, the truth, there's a simple way to get rid of this pain and improve quality of life. That's right! Chiropractic care is the answer!
In case you experience any of the outlined symptoms, don't hesitate to contact a chiropractor. They can help you in getting rid of the uneasiness and pain in no time!
How Does Chiropractic Care Work For TMJ Pain?
So what can you expect when you contact a chiropractor for TMJ pain? Chiropractor care for TMJ pain primarily focuses on the three muscles, masseter, temporalis and pterygoid. Of course, the treatment also works on the jaw joint, suboccipital muscles and the associated areas that affect the jaw joint. Everything has to be aligned properly for the pain to be alleviated.
The masseter is the muscle that enables you to chew. This thick, deep muscle can be felt when you open and close your mouth after putting your hand on your cheek. The temporalis muscle is vital for chewing, too, with a broader coverage compared to the masseter.
When you visit a chiropractor, he will begin by conducting a detailed examination to determine the cause of your condition. Various soft tissue techniques are then used to loosen the jaw muscles and provide relief from the pain.
For instance, the masseter muscle is loosened by placing two fingers against the jaw. The fingers have to be pressed inward to put pressure on the masseter as you open and close the mouth. This has to be repeated at least three times, in quick succession. Similarly, temporalis muscle requires using four-finger pads. The same movements and pressure is needed in this case too. But since temporalis is thinner, less pressure will suffice to get the job done.
The pterygoid muscle is a tad bit more complicated since this one requires a bit of work against the cheek and between the cheek and teeth.
The chiropractor will also adjust the jaw during the treatment. For this, he will first inspect your jaws to find out which side of the joint opens least and which one opens last. He will then decide which side warrants his attention initially. The stuck side of the jaw is then adjusted via a light push motion. Once the chiropractor is done with the adjustment, he will reassess to ensure that the jaw joint is indeed realigned.
Sometimes, the jaw is very tight. In such cases, the chiropractic adjustment has to be done alongside class four laser treatments or dry needling. This speeds up the healing process and ensures that you get the relief you are looking for in no time.
To put it in simpler terms, chiropractors alleviate TMJ pain via joint manipulation to restore movement and release the nearby muscles via the mouth.
Some Additional Tips For Dealing With TMJ Pain
While chiropractor care can indeed help you out in dealing with TMJ pain, there's a lot that you can do to minimize the pain and manage your condition as well.
- Incorporate softer food items into your diet until your pain is alleviated.
- Apply ice packs to soothe the area
- Avoid extreme jaw movements that will stress the joints
- Massage the soft tissues
- Practice stretching of the jaws gently to ease their movement
- Don't let stress bring you down, and learn some techniques that help you relax.
Chiropractic care is capable of yielding much more results than people think. And the best part about chiropractic treatment is that it is developed according to an individual patient's requirements. When you contact a chiropractor, he will assess your condition and determine which treatment method will work for you.
TMJ pain can be alleviated via myofascial release, chiropractic adjustment and active release therapy depending on the cause. Sometimes, chiropractors also work alongside dentists to ensure that you are provided with the best possible care. The chiropractor can also advise postural changes in the upper neck, which can be an aggravating factor for your pain.
So don't think all is lost, and you have to live with the TMJ pain. A simple and easily accessible treatment method is available. Since chiropractic care comprises non-invasive treatment methods, you don't have to worry about side effects either. All that you need to do is ensure that you approach a licensed professional, and your pain will soon become history!