What is TMJ Disorder, and How Can It Be Fixed?

By Dr. Molly Casey

Man Holding Jaw in Pain

Chiropractic is most often thought of as an option for people when they have back or neck pain, right? Can chiropractic help with other things though? And specifically, can it help with TMJ problems? The short answer, yes. But there’s a longer answer, as well.

TMJ

TMJ is the acronym for the temporomandibular joint. A joint is where two bones meet. This particular joint is where the mandible (jaw bone) meets the temporal bone (skull). It is important to know that all healthy individuals have a TMJ and there is a distinction between the joint and disorders within the joint.

TMJ Disorders and Symptoms

When the TMJ is not functioning in the proper intended manner, there is an overall catch term, TMJ disorder. Common symptoms include:

  • Painful swollen joint
  • Aching around ear
  • Clicking when opening/closing the mouth
  • Associated neck pain and/or headaches
  • Trouble chewing or fully opening/closing the mouth

Causes

There are a variety of causes of TMJ disorders; some are known, some are not. Factors that can be linked with the joint dysfunction include:

  • Long-term clenching of the jaw or grinding of teeth
  • Jaw injuries
  • Neck joint dysfunction
  • Certain types of arthritis

TMJ and Chiropractic

Chiropractic helps restore joint range of motion and supports optimal levels of health and functioning within the body. The TMJ is just that, a joint. When TMJ disorder is a result of a loss of range of motion or improper alignment (whether in the joint itself or in the neck), chiropractic manipulations -- of that specific joint or adjustments of the associated spinal joints -- can often correct the problem and offer the patient great relief and restoration of proper function.

TMJ disorders can be very painful and at some level really disrupt one’s quality of life, particularly because it can be difficult to eat and sleep properly. It can feel even more frustrating because it’s not often clear who to go see for TMJ issues and how to correct them with ease and efficiency. However, chiropractic is one of the best of several options available to them. If you or someone you know is suffering from a TMJ disorder, please go to The Joint Chiropractic to let its chiropractors help your body heal.

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