When Should I See a Chiropractor for Jaw Pain?
By Donna Stark
Every joint in the body is important in its own way, but the temporomandibular joint may be a little more than others because of how often it is used. This is the joint that connects your mandible to your skull. We use it when we chew our food, yawn, cough or sneeze, and talk, so it’s easy to see how painful of a problem it can become when something is wrong with it. Unfortunately, pain in this joint is a common issue, but the good news is that relief can be found.
Where Can I Find Relief?
Since jaw pain can be caused by a variety of factors, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis from the start. This will help determine which type of healthcare professional should be seen and what type of treatment plan should be followed. For example, if dental issues are the root cause of the problem, a trip to the dentist is in order, but if arthritis or temporomandibular joint disorder (commonly known as TMJ) is causing the pain, a visit to the chiropractor will be more beneficial.
What Is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint consists of three main parts: the mandible, the temporal bone, and a cushion-like disc that sits between the two. When working properly, this joint absorbs impact to the jaw and allows you to open and close your mouth with ease. But when the surrounding jaw muscles become sore or if the joint cartilage breaks down, there’s an increased risk of soft tissue inflammation and misalignment of the jaw joint. This can lead to symptoms including teeth grinding, pain and loss of function, earaches, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and popping or clicking noises.
When Should I See a Chiropractor for Jaw Pain?
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for TMJ pain, many people find that a chiropractic adjustment can help them manage their symptoms. But the important thing to take note of is that you should seek help from a doctor of chiropractic as soon as possible because early intervention can help reduce symptoms and minimize the risk of long-term damage.
How Does Chiropractic Care Help?
Chiropractic adjustments can reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms associated with TMJ by focusing on the optimal health and function of the nervous system, correcting joint dysfunction, decreasing inflammation, easing stress and tension (in the jaw as well as around the neck and head), and restoring range of motion. Chiropractors may also help their patients by recommending dietary changes and suggesting specific exercises and stretches to relax the body and improve overall function.
What Is the Risk of Ignoring Jaw Pain?
Although it’s OK to give your jaw pain a little bit of time to calm down and resolve itself, you certainly don’t want to sit back and watch it get worse. Ignoring jaw pain can lead to extensive damage and loss of function, and it can cause daily disruptions to your life in the form of headaches, neck and shoulder tension, difficulty with speaking and eating, and emotional distress. It is vital to seek professional medical attention for any symptoms of sudden severe jaw pain to avoid these potential problems.
Is it Dangerous to Adjust the Jaw?
It is important to keep in mind that any adjustments to the jaw should only be performed in a safe and controlled manner by an experienced and certified healthcare professional, such as a doctor of chiropractic. In addition, they must be aware of any underlying medical conditions that may result in a worsened state after the adjustment.
What Kind of Results Should I Expect?
Routine chiropractic care can help improve the alignment of the jaw and alleviate pain, which can result in numerous physical, emotional, and mental benefits. Here are just a few of the results one can expect to receive with proper and effective jaw adjustments.
- Reduced jaw and neck pain
- Restored function
- Improved sleep quality
- Increased focus and concentration
- Better moods
- Reduced stress levels
- Improved quality of life
What’s My Next Step?
Jaw pain can have many different causes and can be a symptom of a larger problem. It is important to identify the root cause of the problem and treat it appropriately. The best way to do this is by consulting with a medical professional, such as your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic, and getting the proper diagnosis. With an accurate diagnosis and a customized chiropractic treatment plan in place, pain and long-term relief can easily be achieved.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this page are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this post is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics, including but not limited to the benefits of chiropractic care, exercise and nutrition. It is not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your chiropractor, physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this page.