chiropractic care for tmj

Can You Treat TMJ with Chiropractic Care?

by | Jun 10, 2024 | General Chiropractic

If you’ve ever experienced a dull ache or cracking sound in your jaw, you might be dealing with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction. TMJ issues affect nearly 5-12% of the world’s population and can significantly impact people’s daily lives. While traditional methods such as anti-inflammatory medications, orthodontic care, or surgery can provide relief in most cases, chiropractic care has offered a promising alternative for more severe cases.

For those who experience severe cases of TMJ dysfunction and pain, you might experience symptoms of referred pain such as tension headaches, shoulder and neck pain, or even complications with your nervous system. Here, we will dive into the causes and effects of TMJ dysfunction and the potential treatment options available for alleviating symptoms and finding relief.

Understanding TMJ Dysfunction

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) act as sliding and rotating hinges that connect the lower jaw to the skull. On each side of the jaw, they serve an essential function in ensuring that you can open and close your mouth, bite down, and chew your food.

TMJ dysfunction typically arises from a variety of genetic and environmental factors, including:

Jaw misalignment: Poor posture, genetic abnormalities, and teeth grinding often contribute to jaw misalignment. Whether misalignments develop over time or result from a sudden injury or instance, they can cause severe pain and discomfort.

Muscle tension: When muscles in the neck, jaw, and back become tense, the risk of nerve compression pain and numbness runs high. Muscle tension might also cause a headache starting in the back of your head and neck and create tension and pain in other areas of your body such as your neck and upper back muscles.

Arthritis: Inflammation and pain caused by arthritis can lead to a variety of complications such as jaw deterioration or pinched nerves. People with arthritis in the jaw typically experience pain in other joints in the body and resort to whole-body treatments to seek relief.

Stress: As one of the major indicators of stress, teeth grinding (bruxism) is a big contributor to TMJ dysfunction. Teeth grinding has the ability to cause muscle inflammation from constant pressure and tension and can cause pain in your jaw. Teeth grinding can also erode your natural bite pattern and cause jaw misalignments that can also put extra strain on your jaw joints.

Common Symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction

Symptoms of TMJ dysfunction can vary from person to person. Symptoms can present themselves as an isolated issue directly relating to the jaw joint or can be a result of a variety of stressors. Some of the most common symptoms of TMJ dysfunction include:

  • Jaw pain and tenderness
  • Jaw locking or Inability to open your mouth wide
  • Clicking or popping sounds in the jaw
  • Tension headaches
  • Earaches or tinnitus
  • Difficulty sleeping

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you might be more susceptible to experiencing additional ailments throughout your body. Jaw pain and tension has the potential to affect other areas of the cervical spinal and nervous system, creating issues with mobility, nerve function, and overall quality of life.

Traditional Approaches to Treating TMJ Dysfunction Symptoms

When it comes to treating TMJ dysfunction symptoms, traditional methods can be a quick and easy method of pain management. Traditional methods can often be the most conservative route, offering solutions such as pain medicines, ice and heat application, or stress relief practices.

In most cases, pain from TMJ dysfunction can be treated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. In some cases, a doctor might prescribe you a higher dose of anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxers.

In more severe cases, you might need to visit your dentist or orthodontist to address jaw misalignments and locking. Orthodontic care such as braces or retainers can help to move your jaw into a better position and relieve pressure from your natural bite. If correction isn’t feasible through conservative methods, surgical options may be considered to repair or replace damaged joint structures.

The Role of Chiropractic Care in Treating TMJ Dysfunction

Chiropractic care focuses on the body’s nervous and musculoskeletal systems. Chiropractors offer a holistic and drug-free approach to pain management and TMJ rehabilitation through these practices:

Joint manipulation: Using gentle adjustments, chiropractors can improve the alignment of the jaw and surrounding areas. By realigning these structures, chiropractors can relieve tension for pain reduction and improve overall mobility.

Soft tissue therapy: Massage techniques help relax and release tight muscles in the jaw and surrounding areas. When TMJ dysfunction leads to headache and neck tension, massage therapy can help to provide relief to these targeted areas and provide relief.

Lifestyle modifications: Added environmental stress can often lead to the exacerbation of TMJ dysfunction symptoms. Chiropractors can offer guidance for managing stress and offer solutions for lifestyle changes that can aid in TMJ pain recovery. A chiropractor can also recommend at-home stretches and exercises that can be performed on your own to improve jaw flexibility and minimize pain.

Benefits of Visiting a Chiropractor for TMJ Disorder

Studies have shown very promising results for the effectiveness of chiropractic care in treating TMJ dysfunction. Combined with other approaches, chiropractic care proves to be a very effective and holistic route for those suffering from TMJ dysfunction pain.

As a non-invasive and drug-free approach to pain management, chiropractic adjustments are a great approach to seeking relief. Though you might want to start with targeting pain in the jaw, it is very important to also treat the surrounding areas as well to minimize referred pain. Your chiropractor will create a custom care plan with you and locate the areas that are causing pain.

Common benefits that chiropractic care can offer are:

Pain relief: Chiropractic adjustments can reduce pain and discomfort by aligning joint structures to ideal positioning for increased range of motion and comfort.

Improved jaw mobility: By aligning jaw joint structures and relieving muscle tension, chiropractic care can improve jaw joint mobility and reduce stiffness and jaw locking.

Reduced headaches: By improving the alignment of your neck and back alongside jaw joint realignment, chiropractors are able to provide relief to your cervical spine structures by preventing pinched nerves and tension.

Consider Chiropractic Care for Treating TMJ Dysfunction

As missions of people experience pain from TMJ dysfunction worldwide, chiropractic care has emerged as a promising alternative approach and can offer non-invasive options for relief. From jaw pain to headache and neck pain management, chiropractic care offers a holistic and non-invasive approach to pain relief.

Don’t let pain keep you from enjoying the things you love. Find a new approach with Denver Integrated Spine Center. Contact us at (303) 758-9000 to schedule an appointment!

Related Posts