The temporomandibular joint serves as the connection between your jaw and skull. We have one temporomandibular joint or TMJ in each side of our jaw, and when jaw pain occurs, TMJ adjustment would most likely be needed. Chiropractic care is one of the most common treatments used for TMJ pain. Most of the time, the pain is also accompanied by teeth grinding and a tender jaw. Click this link here to know how chiropractic care treats TMJ disorders.
What Causes TMJ Disorders
Typically the main cause of TMJ disorders is quite hard to determine. Many factors could conclude to jaw pain such as genetics or injury in the jaw. However, most people with jaw pain also experience bruxism or teeth grinding.
According to studies, the aches and discomfort caused by TMJ disorders are not permanent and can be treated by home remedies or nonsurgical treatments. Just like other pain management treatments, all other options for treatment will be considered initially making surgery the last option for TMJ therapy.
As mentioned, there are many factors that can result in TMJ disorder, some of these causes are:
- Physical injury due to accidents or events
- Autoimmune disease
- Grinding teeth or bruxism
- Effects of dental surgery
Signs and Symptoms
You are probably in need of TMJ adjustment if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Jaw pain accompanied by teeth grinding. One of the most common indicators of TMJ disorder is pain that can be felt when the jaw is moving. This symptom may also include headache, backache, neck pain, and others.
- Aches in the temporomandibular joint
- Tender jaw. You will definitely feel tenderness in your jaw when you try to touch it. This is a sign that TMJ is a probable cause.
- Discomfort in and around the ears. This symptom is often associated with a buzzing or ringing sensation.
- Trouble chewing or biting
- Facial soreness
- Joint locking, finding it hard to close and open the mouth. You will notice this when you hear a locking or popping sound whenever you are talking, eating, or just using your mouth.
TMJ adjustment is needed when there is a locking and grating sensation in the jaw when you attempt to move your mouth. But if pain and discomfort caused by limited movements linked to the locking jaw are not present, you will be given a TMJ treatment.
Chiropractic Care For TMJ Adjustment
There is nothing to worry about because TMJ pain can be adjusted and managed using different methods. One of these treatments includes chiropractic care. Your jaw pain can be easily relieved with simple tricks when you visit a chiropractor. The TMJ adjustment that they provide can easily reduce or remove the soreness.
Usually, when a client is diagnosed with temporomandibular joint pain, the chiropractor will target 3 muscle keys initially. These are the pterygoid, the masseter, and the temporalis. Apart from these, chiropractic care will also give attention to suboccipital muscles or the jaw joint. They will perform soft tissue work on each of these parts to relieve discomfort until it’s gone permanently. The therapy could last for an hour or so depending on your condition. You may also be asked by the chiropractor to return for a follow-up treatment just in case it’s needed.
Home Remedies For TMJ Pain
A lot of pain and discomforts caused by TMJ disorders can be relieved by home remedies effectively. People use different techniques to ease the pain on their own, and some of these home care treatments include:
- Placing a cold or ice pack on the painful area or the joint itself.
- Taking over the counter medicines for pain relief (anti-inflammatory drugs).
- Avoid eating gums and eating soft foods until the pain subsides.
- Proper massage or self-stretching techniques as suggested by doctors and therapists.
- Stress management and relaxation methods.
- Using essential oils to gently massage the affected area.
If none of these work out, it’s probably time for you to seek TMJ adjustment through professional help. The first thing that you need to do is to consult a doctor to see if you are actually suffering from TMJ pain. This is important as some of the symptoms of TMJ disorders are quite similar to some dental issues as well.
The professional help that might get may include the following:
- Dental splint. This is a mouthguard-like piece that is specifically designed to prevent teeth grinding and provide support for the teeth.
- Botox can also be considered for TMJ adjustment procedures but unfortunately, this kind of treatment is not yet supported by DFA as of this writing.
- Physical therapy or chiropractic care can also reduce jaw pain by strengthening the muscles and improving the flexibility of your jaw.
- Stress management programs might also be helpful in reducing the intensity of pain caused by TMJ.
- Acupuncture is also an option but it does not guarantee to complete relief.
- In severe cases, dental surgery might be necessary. Depending on the condition of the patient, a joint replacement procedure can become the last and only option.
- Prescribed medication. Your doctor might prescribe few medicines to help ease the pain and treat the disorder. These drugs could include anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, steroids, sleeping pills (to help you sleep well), nerve pain drugs, and opiate pain medications.
While you are in the process of TMJ adjustment, you might want to make a few changes with your daily habits like:
- Eating soft foods only
- Avoiding gums and hards foods
- Not biting your nails
- Not biting your lips
- Practicing good posture
- Avoid yawning or shouting