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TMJ: WHAT IS IT & HOW TO FIND RELIEF

jaw pain

TMJ: HOW IT MIGHT BE AFFECTING YOU AND HOW TO FIND RELIEF

Do you have clicking, popping or pain in your jaw or face? If so, you might be one of millions of people who have a dysfunction in their TMJ, or temporomandibular joint. The TMJ is a hinge-like joint that connects your upper and lower jaw bones on both sides of your face. Anytime this joint isn’t working properly, it often causes pain on one or both sides of the jaw, as well as jaw popping, clicking or other troublesome symptoms. This jaw pain can be debilitating and often causes people to seek safe and alternative ways to give them TMJ pain relief.

TMJD

The TMJ is made up of a series of muscles, ligaments, discs, and bones that move your jaw forward, backward, and side to side. Often times the TMJ can become dysfunctional and cause TMJD, or temporomandibular disorder.

What Causes TMJD?

There are many causes of TMJD. The main cause of TMJD is due to muscle imbalance(s) on one side of the jaw versus the other. Some causes of muscle imbalance within the TMJ include

  • Grinding teeth
  • Clenching teeth/jaw
  • Stress
  • Poor posture
  • Repetitively chewing gum, ice or other hard objects
  • Injury, such as whiplash
  • Arthritis in the joint
  • Orthodontic braces

Symptoms of TMJD

TMJD can at times be obvious but other times manifest as symptoms in other areas of the body. The following can be symptoms of TMJD:

  • Pain on one or both sides of the jaw
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Jaw grinding when opening/closing
  • Deviation of the jaw to one side
  • Headaches
  • Neck or shoulder pain
  • Pain in or around your ear
  • Toothache
  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or difficulty hearing all of a sudden
  • Locked jaw

Diagnosis can sometimes be long and frustrating as TMJD can appear as other problems present in the body. This is why it is important to seek care from an experienced TMJ provider who can provide natural and effective conservative care to eliminate your pain and jaw dysfunction for good. Some treatment options include:

Treatment Options for TMJD

  • Seek out a conservative specialist that specializes in TMJD, such as a chiropractor. Chiropractors are highly trained to evaluate and treat dysfunctions of the jaw. Dr. Schroeder incorporates several things into her treatments for TMJD patients, such as gentle mobilizations of the TMJ, soft tissue work to tight and dysfunctional muscles on the outside and inside of the jaw, and corrective exercises to help stabilize the jaw and assist in healing.
  • Chew your food on BOTH sides of your mouth. Remember, TMJD is often caused by muscle imbalances of the jaw. Chewing on only one side creates muscle imbalance and can lead to pain and injury.
  • Avoid chewing gum, ice and other things repetitively. Repetitively chewing can overwork the jaw muscles and lead to dysfunction.
  • Ice your painful jaw. Icing helps alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Practice good posture. Poor posture can create problems in the neck, shoulders and jaw. Good posture includes placing your desktop monitor at eye level, sitting up straight, taking breaks every 30-60 minutes from sitting, and avoiding looking down too long (hello text neck!).
  • Address your stress. Stress can unconsciously cause us to clench our jaw tight, which can strain the jaw muscles and lead to pain and injury.
  • Stop grinding and clenching your teeth! Oftentimes people grind and clench their teeth in their sleep, so being fit for a mouth guard can help to relax the jaw during sleep and protect the teeth from wearing down. One way to determine if you are grinding or clenching your teeth while sleeping is to see how your jaw feels first thing in the morning. If you are waking up with a very tense and tight jaw, chances are you are either grinding or clenching or both.

Conclusion

Anytime you have aching pain in your face, temple, ear, or jaw, you may be dealing with TMJ. TMJD can be very painful and interfere with your day. Knowing what symptoms to look for and finding a specialist can provide you with healing of your dysfunctional jaw and relief of your pain.

If you or someone you know suffers from TMJD and are ready for help, then reach out to Dr. Schroeder for TMJ relief! While the TMJ is quite slow to heal after injury, pain relief can be achieved. Simply book your appointment online today. Your first visit includes a thorough consultation to establish how we can best help you, a physical examination to get to the root cause of your problem and treatment.

Author: Dr. Courtenay Schroeder
Owner and Doctor of Chiropractic at ProMotion Chiropractic
Pineville area Charlotte Chiropractor
Helping you move better so you can feel better.

Medical Disclaimer
The information and reference guides in this website are intended solely for informational purposes only to promote consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. The contents of this website are not intended to offer personal medical advice, diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any questions or advice on any exercise, medication, nutrition or supplementation.

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