TMJ stands for the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), an important joint formed by your skull and jawbone, using the muscles needed for you to talk and chew food. This very important joint opens and closes your mouth, acting as a sliding hinge that allows for up and down, as well as side to side movement, for chewing, yawning, singing, etc.
As an important joint, there are a lot of things that can go wrong with it, resulting in discomfort, clenching, and teeth grinding. To experience TMJ pain, a disc of cartilage is often misaligned that keeps your jaw movement smooth and separates the bones of the joint. When the muscles become irritated the joints can displace. It can also be caused by arthritis or other joint disease. The smoothness is interrupted, and can cause popping, clicking, muscle tenderness, joint tenderness, as well as the inability for you to open your mouth all the way.
Chronic sufferers may experience headaches, dizziness, earaches, and even difficulty hearing. It can also lead to pain that radiates to the face, head, neck, and even shoulders from the severe clenching and grinding of the jaw.
If you’re experiencing TMJ pain, there are three main types of pain you may be experiencing from within the joint:
1) Myofascial Pain: The pain in the muscles that controls the jaw and the connecting neck and shoulder muscles.
2) Internal Derangement: Meaning a dislocated or displaced disc.
3) Degenerative Joint Disease: Like arthritis, this disease occurs in the jaw joint, stiffening movements and causing pain within the joint.
You’re at risk for increasing your development of TMJ pain if you have suffered any recent jaw injury, stress, or grinding and clenching of your teeth while stressed or while sleeping.
Though TMJ pain may be unavoidable at times, through chiropractic support, you can keep it under control, keep the pressure off the nerves longer than you have ever before. So, your body can heal. Spinal manipulative therapy combined with neuromuscular reeducation for postural correction has been shown to reduce TMJ pain and symptoms through chiropractic.
Chiropractic will step in and focus on the relationship of the neck, spine, and back as it relates to the structure of the jaw in your skull. Although many assume that the solution to their TMJ problems can be found within the dental unit, the structuring of the jaw joint actually has nothing to do with dentistry at all. Reconnecting to your spinal system, you can have your TMJ realigned and monitored through chiropractic support to ensure that nerve pressure is alleviated from your TMJ, face, head, and teeth.