There are well-known issues with the jaw posture called the
- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorders or Dysfunction (TMD)
- and Craniomandibular Joint Disorders of Dysfunction (CMD).
These disorders are usually ignored, but that doesn’t mean that they should be. Over 10 million Americans are affected with one of these; these disorders are more common in women than in men. These issues often appear in cycles and cause pain in the areas of the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. The pain eventually goes away with or without help from chiropractors, but, in other cases, people develop significant, long-term symptoms.
Temporomandibular Joint: TMJ
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunctions in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. There are still many questions about these disorders, but there are few answers because researchers are still trying to figure the main cause of these problems and the best solutions for treating them.
What is the best way of finding out that you may have a TMJ disorder and should consult a professional chiropractor?
- Do you loudly grind your teeth when sleeping or consistently snore?
- Do you have high tooth temperature sensitivity or chewing pain?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, you should consult a professional chiroprator with experience in treating TMJ disorders.
When do you know that you need to seek a professional opinion from a chiropractor?
- Do you have strong jaw joint pain, high tension and jaw popping when you open and close your mouth?
- Have your problems with back or neck pain started affecting your jaw pain?
- Does your jaw pain cause your neck or back pain?
All of these symptoms require a trip to a professional chiropractor specializing in TMJ disorders.
When do you know you should consider seeking both chiropractic and dental TMJ disorder care?
- If you went to a professional chiropractor, but symptoms keep returning, then you should also consult with a dentist.
- If you went to see a dentist, but the condition isn’t getting better, then you should consult with a professional chiropractor who specializes in TMJ disorders. Before any dental work becomes permanent, chiropractors strongly suggest balancing your posture.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders or Dysfunction: TMD
TMD can cause a lot of problems. You may experience clicking or popping noises as you chew or move your mouth, muscle spasms around the jaw, pain in front of the ear, ear and temple pain, headache, or earache.
The main causes of TMD are clenching your jaw during sleep, which overworks the jaw muscles and puts pressure on the joint (often caused by stress), wear and tear of the inside of the jaw joint, a disease causing inflammation of the jaw joint, or injury to the jaw joint, such as a blow to the face or surgery.
TMD is mainly treated by resting the joint, eating soft food and avoiding chewing gum, holding a warm or cold flannel to the jaw after doing a few gentle jaw-stretching exercises, avoiding opening the joint too wide, massaging the muscles around the joint, relaxation exercises to relieve stress (people tend to clench their jaws when stressed), and not resting your chin on your hand.