The TMJ or temporomandibular joint acts like a hinge which connects your jawbone to your skull. There is one joint on each side of your jaw. TMJ disorders, such as temporomandibular disorder or TMD can cause pain in your jaw, as well as in the muscles that control the jaw’s movement. These disorders may cause many different symptoms and a wide range of discomfort. Many of these disorders are treatable, whether by home exercises, medications, medical devices, chiropractic care, or even surgery.
The first step in treating TMJ disorders is identifying and diagnosing, which is why understanding how these disorders present could be very helpful.
Identify and Manage
Identifying TMJ disorders usually begins when symptoms start. When one begins to suffer from a TMJ disorder, a variety of symptoms will usually present. There’s no standard amount, and some people may suffer less than others. Some standard TMJ disorder symptoms include:
- Pain and tenderness in the jaw
- Pain in one or both TMJ
- Aching in and around the ear
- Difficulty chewing, or painful chewing
- Aching pain in the face
- Locking of the joint, which makes it difficult to open and close your mouth.
Many people who suffer with TMJ disorders may also notice a clicking sound occurs when opening the jaw or while chewing. Sometimes this is also accompanied by a grating sensation. However, if this isn’t accompanied by pain, you likely won’t need treatment for a TMJ disorder.
Those who suffer from a TMJ disorder may also experience swelling, sensitive teeth, face muscle spasms, as well as headaches, ear pain, stiffness, dizziness, and even tinnitus. There is no standard for these disorders, meaning that some people suffer from more symptoms than others do. The cause of TMJ disorders varies, but things like arthritis, teeth clenching, connective tissue diseases, and jaw injuries can increase your chances of developing one.
If you suspect that you’re suffering from a TMJ disorder, the best thing you can do is to get diagnosed. Present your symptoms to your doctor and your chiropractor, both of which can help determine if you suffer from a TMJ disorder. You may need to see an ENT (ears nose throat) specialist in extreme cases.
There are a variety of different treatment options for TMJ disorders, common treatment options include:
- Physical therapy for the jaw/shoulders/neck
- Medical devices like a jaw guard or splint
- Corrective dental treatments
- Soft food diet
- Manual therapy, including dry needling.
And much more!
Seeing a Chiropractor to Treat TMJ
Once it’s been determined that you suffer from a TMJ disorder, your doctor will work with you to formulate a treatment plan. Doctors may recommend jaw exercises, medications, and even surgery. However, before agreeing to surgery, it’s always a great idea to see your chiropractor. Your chiropractor has plenty of treatments for TMJ disorders that aren’t painful or invasive like TMJ surgery.
Some common chiropractic techniques for TMJ disorders include manual adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and exercises that can help realign the jaw, reduce muscle tension, and improve flexibility. Your chiropractor may also focus on the cervical spine, your upper back, and your shoulders. These areas are closely related to jaw function and can affect it as well. Your chiropractor will address these misalignments and restrictions, and can help reduce tension, improve mobility, and reduce pain.
When you approach your chiropractor with TMJ troubles, they’ll help figure out the source of the disorder and will also help formulate a treatment plan that is both effective and largely painless. Your chiropractor will be able to determine which treatment options would work best for your TMJ issues. This treatment plan will likely include a combination of different treatment options, such as:
- Massage therapy
- Spinal adjustments
- Other adjustments
- Spinal manipulation
- Stretching/pulling therapies
- Lifestyle changes
- Soft tissue therapy
- Heat/Cold therapy
- Jaw alignment
Your chiropractor has a full arsenal of treatment methods to choose from when formulating your treatment plan. They will work with you to create a plan that you’re comfortable with. Your chiropractor will also likely want to work with your PCP to ensure that all medical care is on the same page. Many who visit a chiropractor for their TMJ disorders find that they experience great results, with many avoiding surgery because of it.
One of the major benefits of seeing a chiropractor to treat your TMJ disorder is that you’re able to receive effective care that works without the risk of addictive medication or painful surgery or procedures. Your chiropractor is able to effectively treat your symptoms without having to prescribe you addictive medications that may do more harm than good. You’re also able to avoid invasive and painful treatments and surgeries by choosing a chiropractor first. Most chiropractors can treat mild and severe forms of TMJ disorders, so it’s always worth checking with your chiropractor before agreeing to any surgeries or painful treatments.
TMJ disorders are painful and can easily reduce the quality of your life. Nobody wants to live with pain and stiffness, which is why treating the disorder is especially important. When you’re diagnosed with a TMJ disorder, you’ll likely start to hear about the possibility of pain medications and surgery. However, visiting a chiropractor first is a great way to avoid these treatments.
Many chiropractors are able to help treat TMJ disorders without invasive or painful treatments. It’s important to seek treatment as soon as you can, as they can worsen over time. Untreated TMJ disorders can worsen, causing even more pain, mobility issues, and so much more. Those who fail to treat their TMJ issues may end up with other health problems because of it. It’s important to seek treatment as soon as you suspect that you may suffer from TMJ disorders. While they aren’t life-threatening, they can help deteriorate your health to the point where it becomes life-threatening.
Treating your TMJ disorder is important, but it doesn’t have to be painful or invasive. There are many treatments available, and a chiropractor is able to administer many of them. TMJ disorders are caused by a variety of different issues, and your chiropractor will help get to the root of your disorder, formulating your treatment plan accordingly. Don’t spend your life in pain, contact a chiropractor to see how they can help you get your life back, and control of your jaw back, today.