Jaw pain can be a debilitating ailment that can impact your ability to speak and eat. If you are seeking treatment for jaw pain caused by TMJ and other conditions, the last place you would likely look is the chiropractor. But, our team of St. Louis chiropractors can work to relieve your jaw pain, namely your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is a common sore spot for many patients.
The human jaw
Our jaws are just as complex as any other joint in the human body. It has a joint on each side called the temporal-mandibular joint, which is cushioned by a disc similar to how the joints in the spine are. The joint or the disc can cause problems for you if you suffer from any of the following:
- Teeth grinding
- Poor posture of the head
- Lengthy dental work
What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw to the skull in front of the ear. The joints are the hinge joints on each side of your jaw. There are also specific facial muscles to control chewing connected to the lower jaw. You can find your TMJ if you put your fingers in front of either ear and open your mouth. You should feel changing shapes under your fingers.
What is TMD?
Temporomandibular disorder (TMD), more commonly known as TMJ, is a blanket term for acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (which connects your mandible to your skull). TMJ refers to a wide assortment of conditions that affect TM joints, jaw muscles, and facial nerves. Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMD) is the most common cause of jaw pain, affecting nearly ten million Americans.
Several things can cause TMD jaw pain, including:
- Pain from the muscles that control jaw movement
- Jaw injuries
- Excess stimulation of the jaw joint
- A displaced disc that typically helps cushion the jaw’s movements
- Arthritis of the protective disc that provides a cushion to the jaw joint
- Autoimmune disorders
- Dental procedures
Several factors including can cause damage to the jaw joint or the muscles that control your jaw movement, including:
- Teeth grinding at night
- Involuntarily clenching your jaw from stress and anxiety
- Trauma to the jaw joint, including being hit in the face while playing sports
Symptoms of TMD
A broad range of symptoms are associated with TMD, including:
- Ear pain
- Chronic headaches
- Neck pain
- Jaw pain while biting or chewing
- Difficulty opening and closing your mouth
- Popping or clicking noises when you open your mouth
- Jaw stiffness
- Tinnitus (ear pain, pressure, fullness, ringing in the ears)
- Vision problems
- Sensitive teeth with no underlying dental problems
How can a chiropractor help jaw pain?
Approximately 12% of the population or 35 million people in the United States are affected by TMD at any given time, and many of them don’t realize that a chiropractor can help with the pain TMJ is causing them.First, your chiropractor will assess what’s causing your TMD. If your chiropractor decides your TMD case will benefit from chiropractic care, they will proceed with a few options, including:
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Myofascial Release, which helps relax muscles and soft tissue to optimize their function
- Active release therapy to loosen scar tissue
- Your chiropractor might also work with your dentist to guarantee that the treatment chosen is the right one for you
Your chiropractor might also advise you of specific changes to your posture you can make, especially in the upper-neck, which could be causing your TMD as well.
If you want to learn more about how our chiropractors can work with you to treat your jaw pain, contact us today. Our team of experienced St. Peters chiropractors uses a unique blend of the best chiropractic, acupuncture, laser, massage, wellness, and nutrition-related services to offer various solutions to enhance your health.