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Can a Chiropractor Help with TMJ?

Apr 8, 2022

Can a Chiropractor Help with TMJYou may not have heard of TMJ before, but there’s a fair chance you’ve met someone who’s experienced it. It’s a very common disorder, with around three million sufferers recorded each year. Anyone seeking TMJ relief is well aware of the clicking, grating, and grinding pains that this condition can cause. TMJ is more than an annoyance; it’s a debilitating condition that may make simple tasks like eating and drinking difficult. Fortunately, TMJ sufferers rarely need to resort to drastic methods to relieve their symptoms, such as surgery. There’s even a chance that you won’t need to resort to invasive measures at all—a chiropractor may have what it takes to completely eliminate your TMJ. If you’re in deep need to fix TMJ, you are right to search “Walk-in chiropractors near me.”

What Is TMJ?

Before we can get into how chiropractic can help with TMJ, it’s important to know what TMJ is. TMJ is often used incorrectly as a shorthand to refer to disorders involving your TMJ—also known as the temporomandibular joint. The temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects your jaw to your temporal bones, which are located in front of each ear. It enables you to talk, chew, and yawn by allowing you to move your jaw up and down and side to side. There are two TMJs in the human body, one on each side of the jaw. Place your fingers in front of your ears and open your mouth to feel them.

Temporomandibular disorders are conditions that affect your jaw and the muscles that govern it (TMD). TMDs are a collection of over 30 ailments that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles that govern jaw movement. A TMD can be extremely painful and inconvenient. It could be short-term or long-term. Your face could be affected on one or both sides, and you may even experience headaches. It affects more women than men, and persons between the ages of 20 and 40 are the most likely to develop it.

The Symptoms

TMDs are divided into three categories: joint disorders, including disc problems, chewing muscle disorders (masticatory muscles), and headaches linked with a TMD. It’s crucial to understand that noises (such as clicking or popping) in the TMJs without pain are common, considered normal, and do not require treatment. The following symptoms, on the other hand, may indicate a TMD:

  • When you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide, you may feel pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear.
  • When attempting to open your mouth wide, you may find it difficult or even impossible to open it all the way.
  • You may feel your jaw become “stuck” or “locked” in an open-mouth or closed-mouth position.
  • You might experience fatigue of the facial muscles.
  • You may deal with problems chewing or a sudden uneasy bite, as though the upper and lower teeth aren’t lining up properly.
  • Your face may be swollen on the affected side.

These symptoms can affect the quality of your life by causing difficulty at work, interfering with everyday duties, making sleeping difficult, and increasing your stress level. Simple treatment may be all that is required because many jaw joint and muscle issues, including TMDs, are temporary and do not worsen. However, when it comes to your health, it’s best not to take that gamble.

The Causes

It’s often difficult to pinpoint the exact source of TMJ dysfunction. Genetics, arthritis, or a jaw injury could all be contributing to your discomfort. Although many people routinely clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders, some people with jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth (bruxism). Tooth decay, sinus difficulties, arthritis, and gum disease are also all conditions that display comparable symptoms. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam to determine what’s causing your symptoms.
TMDs can’t be diagnosed with a widely acknowledged, conventional test. It might be difficult for some physicians to diagnose because the exact causes and symptoms are unknown.

How to Treat It

As stated before, TMJ disorder symptoms may go away without treatment in some circumstances. If your symptoms persist, however, your doctor may suggest a number of therapeutic methods, often more than one, to be used simultaneously. There are a variety of methods that are commonly used and acknowledged as effective in the treatment of TMDs, ranging from home care, surgery, and even chiropractic care for jaw pain relief.

Common Suggestions

Right off the bat, it’s important to address what your doctor is most likely to suggest to you. These are tried-and-true, but they may not be the right methods for you. Remember to explore every avenue and speak to a professional to determine which treatment plans might work best with your individual case.

  • Medications. If you need higher doses of NSAIDs for pain and swelling, your dentist can prescribe them. If you grind or clench your teeth, they may recommend a muscle relaxant to help you relax. In low doses, anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs have been shown to lessen discomfort and edema.
  • A night guard or a splint. These plastic mouthpieces are designed to fit over your upper and lower teeth and prevent them from touching. They reduce the effects of clenching or grinding while also correcting your bite by repositioning your teeth.
  • Dental work could be required. To balance the biting surfaces of your teeth or address a bite problem, your dentist can replace missing teeth and use crowns, bridges, or braces.

At-Home Care

There are several techniques you may try to help treat TMD symptoms on your own. These are likely to be recommended in conjunction with more rigid treatment recommendations by a professional.

  • Use wet heating or cooling packs to relieve pain. For around ten minutes, apply an ice pack to the side of your face and temple area. Stretch your jaw with a few basic stretches (if your doctor gives the go-ahead). Hold a warm towel or washcloth to the side of your face for around five minutes when you’re finished. Repeat this routine several times per day.
  • Soft foods should be consumed. On your menu, include yogurt, mashed potatoes, cottage cheese, soup, scrambled eggs, fish, cooked fruits and vegetables, beans, and cereals. To chew less, cut items into small pieces. Avoid hard, crunchy, and chewy meals, as well as large bites.
  • Use over-the-counter drugs if necessary. Muscle soreness and swelling can be relieved by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as naproxen or ibuprofen.

Psychological Care

If home treatment doesn’t work, there are many commonly-accepted treatments for TMDs. These will vary depending on what the primary suspect is in your particular TMD, and there’s a fair chance you won’t ever need to go under the knife. In fact, there’s a fair chance you may not need to do much of anything for your physical health.

TMDs can sometimes be managed with the use of behavioral health methods, which are usually provided by a psychologist. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and biofeedback are two of them. Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to detect and change negative thinking or thought patterns, as well as teach coping skills. Sensors that track breathing, heart rate, muscle contraction, and temperature are used in biofeedback. A sensor on your jaw, for example, can catch when you tighten your jaw muscles. You can learn to detect undesired behavior and relax with the help of a therapist.

Chiropractic Adjustment for TMJ Disorders

Even if traditional, at-home, and psychological methods fail, there are still methods out there for managing and eliminating your TMJ disorder. Namely, chiropractic. It may seem outlandish to suggest that chiropractic care could solve a problem with your jaw, but it isn’t as far-fetched as it seems: there have been cases where chiropractic care played a major role in reducing all of the major symptoms of TMDs.

A chiropractor can assess if your TMJ pain is caused by TMJ itself, the muscles around it, or the spine that holds your entire body together. They can work to naturally fix the issue without the use of drugs, oral devices, or surgery. TMJ treatment will have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. There is no one-size-fits-all cure for TMJ since it might be caused by anything from jaw injuries to stress. However, upper cervical chiropractic, which focuses on re-aligning important parts of the upper spine, has been cited as an effective set of treatments in the past. Until a better chiropractic jaw adjustment is obtained, the chiropractor can also deal with critical muscles such as the masseter, temporalis, and pterygoid. If you’re reading this and considering making the search “Walk-in Chiropractor near Me,” consider making that chiropractor one from AICA Atlanta.

 

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