brunette with pink shirt touching jaw due to TMJ pain

Understanding TMJ Dysfunction

To understand what a TMJ chiropractor is, we first must understand TMJ. TMJ dysfunction, also known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, is a condition that affects the jaw joint and the muscles that control its movement. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull, and it allows for the opening and closing of the mouth, as well as the movement of the jaw from side to side.

TMJ dysfunction can occur when the joint and surrounding muscles become inflamed or damaged. It can result in pain and discomfort in the jaw and difficulty with chewing, talking, and other activities that involve the jaw.

How a TMJ chiropractor can help

If you’re struggling with jaw pain or clicking sounds, a TMJ chiropractor can provide relief. These specialists focus on realigning your jaw and reducing muscle tension. With gentle adjustments and targeted therapies, they aim to restore proper function to your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). With their expertise, you can find relief from discomfort and improve your overall jaw health.

A study done by the Department of Chiropractic and New York Medical Group showed that after just 4 weeks of tmj chiropractic treatment, a patient reported a complete resolution of symptoms and an improved quality of life. Another study by private practices in New York and Colorado proved that all patients selected for the study showed a reduction in TMJ symptoms. 

Understanding TMJ Dysfunction and its symptoms

According to the UIC College of Dentistry, roughly 10 million people in the US suffer from TMJ. TMJ dysfunction is caused by various factors. These include teeth grinding or clenching, misaligned teeth or bites, injury to the jaw, stress, arthritis, or other medical conditions. Treatment for TMJ dysfunction may include lifestyle changes, such as stress reduction techniques or dietary changes, as well as TMJ chiropractic care, medication, or in some cases, surgery.

Do you experience jaw pain, popping noises, or difficulty chewing? These are common signs of TMJ issues. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw joint area
  • Clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing the mouth
  • Difficulty opening the mouth fully
  • Locking of the jaw joint
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Pain or tenderness in the face, neck, or shoulders
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitive teeth

If you’re experiencing any of these, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional, like a TMJ chiropractor, for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

Benefits of seeing a TMJ chiropractor

There are numerous benefits to choosing a TMJ chiropractor for your jaw issues. Scientists have found that 85% of patients with TMJ also suffer from other conditions. These can include issues with allergies to IBS and even sleep disorders. So, not only can seeing a TMJ chiropractor help ease the pain of typical TMJ symptoms, but it can help alleviate others, too. Chiropractors offer specialized and non-invasive treatment options like spinal screenings to treat and address the root causes of your pains. 

What to expect in a TMJ chiropractic session

During your TMJ chiropractic session, you can expect a thorough evaluation of your jaw function and overall posture. The chiropractor will use gentle adjustments and targeted techniques to realign your jaw and alleviate tension. They may also recommend exercises and lifestyle changes to support your TMJ health. Throughout the session, communication is key, so feel free to ask questions and express any concerns you may have. 

5 Tips for TMJ Self-Care 

  1. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Incorporate deep breathing or meditation into your daily routine to reduce stress levels, which can exacerbate TMJ symptoms.
  2. Apply Heat or Ice Packs: Alternate between applying heat and ice packs to the jaw area to help alleviate pain and inflammation associated with TMJ dysfunction.
  3. Maintain Good Posture: Be mindful of your posture throughout the day, especially when sitting or standing, to prevent added strain on your jaw joint. Proper alignment can reduce TMJ discomfort.
  4. Avoid Excessive Chewing or Jaw Clenching: Limit activities that put a strain on your jaw, such as chewing gum or biting nails, and be conscious of clenching your jaw during stressful situations to prevent aggravating TMJ symptoms.
  5. Incorporate TMJ Massage: Gently massage the muscles around your jaw and neck to help relieve tension and improve blood flow to the area. Massage can promote relaxation and alleviate TMJ-related discomfort.
  6. Regular TMJ Chiropractor visits: It’s important to get into a routine that includes regular visits to get chiropractic care.

Nurturing your health with a TMJ chiropractor

Finding relief from your TMJ dysfunction can seem challenging. By seeking professional care, it doesn’t have to be. A TMJ chiropractor can help you take the necessary steps to live a pain-free life! With a mix of at-home self-care and regular visits to your chiropractor, a better quality of life is right around the corner.