If you are wondering if a chiropractor is capable of helping you TMJ, the answer is “yes.” Chiropractic treatments can alleviate TMJ pain. There are exercises that can be done on your own time to loosen up jaw muscles, which will reduce pain.
The video below demonstrates how to perform exercises at home. They can ease TMJ pain that you experience. You will also find out how a chiropractor can alleviate your TMJ pain, as well as what to expect from treatment.
TMJ: What Is It?
TMD (temporomandibular disorder) describes chronic or acute inflammation – specifically of the joint connecting your skull to the mandible (temporomandibular joint). TMD can describe all sorts of conditions capable of impacting facial nerves, TM joints, and jaw muscles.
Your TM joint (jaw joint) is located on both sides of the head. It connects your mandible (lower jaw bone) to the skull’s temporal bones (which are on both sides of your head). Muscles that control these joints are connected to your mandible. They are what let your jaw move.
When your mouth is opened up, the mandible’s round upper ends on both of the jaw’s sides glide along a joint socket, which is situated on your skull’s base. When your mouth is closed, they slide right back to the initial position they were in. You might hear some popping in your jaw when this happens. If you do, you have TMJ.
TMJ happens to be quite common. It can be caused by trauma/injury to your jaw, nail-biting, or teeth grinding (either while you sleep or are awake). It can also be caused by autoimmune diseases, infections, arthritis, and degenerative joint disease.
About 12% of people in America experience TMJ at some point in their lives. Most are oblivious to the fact that chiropractors can alleviate the pain that is associated with this condition.
TMJ comes with a variety of symptoms, which includes the following:
Sensitive teeth (even if you are experiencing dental problems).
Clicking or popping noises when the amount is opened.
Difficulty closing your mouth and opening it.
Jaw pain as you chew or bite.
Jaw soreness and pain.
Pain around or in the ear.
The amount of symptoms associated with TMJ reveals how much jaw muscles affect the surrounding muscles and joints.
TMJ and Chiropractic Treatment
Our clinic focuses on a few key muscles to alleviate jaw pain: the pterygoid, temporalis, and masseter. We also look at the jaw joint, suboccipital muscles, and the two top vertebrae. That is because they significantly affect your jaw joint. Our objective is to ensure that things are aligned as they should be.
The masseter can be described as a deep and thick muscle situated in your upper jaw. It is what helps you chew. By putting your hand directly on the cheek, then closing and opening your mouth, you’ll be able to feel the masseter flex. The temporalis can be described as a clam-shaped, thin muscle, and there is one on both sides of your head. You need this muscle to chew as well. They cover a wide area, temples included.
The above video walks through several soft tissue approaches that can be performed at home, and they can treat both your temporalis and the masseter. For the masseter, simply place a couple of fingers flat directly against the jaw. Pushing with your fingers flat, then place pressure on the masseter before closing and opening your mouth. Afterward, you can transition to the subsequent area of your masseter. For this exercise, do a few repetitions in order to complete one set. If you experience jaw pain, this exercise should be done a few times each day for a total of three sets.
This exercise can also work on your temporalis. However, you’ll be using four finger pads, since the muscle is much broader. The same pressure and movement from your masseter exercise should be used, but the temporalis doesn’t require as much pressure (since the muscle is thinner). We suggest doing a few sets of the exercise three times each day to alleviate jaw pain.
Soft tissue exercises for the pterygoid are much more complicated and will warrant a chiropractor’s assistance. Release of the pterygoid warrants leverage against your cheek, right in between it, as well as your teeth. When treating TMJ, these soft tissues are more uncomfortable than others, since they are not so strong (in comparison to either the temporalis or masseter).
After the soft tissue exercises have been completed, we will begin assessing and adjusting the jaw for the sake of making a chiropractic adjustment. The doctor will feel your jaw joints to determine which side is an opening as it should, along with which side to focus on first. The jaw’s stuck side will be adjusted first before the other receives a mild push motion. Once this adjustment is complete, we will reassess things to determine if the joint has been realigned.
If necessary, TMJ treatment may include dry needling. This tends to be necessary for tight jaws. Alternatively, laser treatments (class IV) might be used to expedite the tissue’s healing process.
Will a visit to a chiropractor be beneficial for those with TMJ? Yes, it absolutely will. We treat a lot of patients suffering from TMJ, along with the jaw issues that accompany it.
Is TMJ something you have been suffering from? Schedule an appointment with us today. Call us at 561-445-2648 or Book Online.