When most people chew or talk, they rarely give thought to the variety of muscles that are at work, especially the jaw. The jaw is truly one of the most fascinating and important parts of your body. Without it, eating would be impossible in the traditional sense. You don’t need to get in a huge bar fight to hurt your jaw. All it takes is a some trauma to the mouth and you may experience discomfort in that area.
Fortunately, your chiropractor may be able to relieve some of your pain! When people think of chiropractors, they often think of only back pain but that is not the case. Your chiropractor can help you better understand what may be happening in the event that you have had a dislocation or injury in your mouth.
A common sore spot for most poeple is their temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which can be a common sore spot for many people.
A study showed that specific adjustments of the TMJ may be appropriate for the conservative treatment of temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD).
What Does The Temporomandibular Joint Do (TMJ) ?
The TMJ connects the lower jaw to the skull in front of the ear. Certain facial muscles that control chewing are also attached to the lower jaw. You can easily find your TMJ by placing your fingers in front of either ear and opening your mouth. You should feel changing shapes beneath your fingers. Problems with the TMJ or the surrounding structures cause TMD.
What are some of the problems that cause TMD?
TMD can be caused by a variety of day to day uses. The most common is clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth during sleep. These moments overwork the jaw muscles and put pressure on the joint.
TMD can also be caused by the following:
- disc dislocation
- when ill-fitting dental fillings, crowns, dentures, etc. make the bite uneven
- trauma to the mouth i.e. a fall directly on the jaw or dental surgery
- hereditary issues
- specific diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout or fibromyalgia
What are the symptoms of TMD?
TMD can have many symptoms that can be present all the time, or come and go. Some of these include;
- trouble opening and closing your mouth
- jaw locking, clicking or popping
- pain in the jaw
- pain in the neck or face
- difficulty chewing
- ear pain
How can my chiropractor help?
Your chiropractor will first assess the cause of your TMD. Most TMJ conditions respond well to conservative treatment like chiropractic.
If your chiropractor decides your specific case of TMD can benefit from chiropractic treatment, they may proceed with a few different methods, such as chiropractic adjustments, Myofascial Release, which works to relax muscles and soft tissue in order to optimize their function, or active release therapy, which is meant to release scar tissue.
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