What is TMJ and Can Chiropractic Help?

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When you think of a chiropractor, you usually think about a doctor for neck and back pain, right? If you've been keeping up with our blog, you know chiropractic can help with so much more. But what about TMJ? 

What is TMJ?

TMJ is the acronym for the temporomandibular joint. This joint is where the mandible (jaw bone) and the temporal bone (skull) meet. Everyone has a TMJ, and there is a difference between the joint itself and disorders within the joint.

TMJ Disorders and Symptoms

When the TMJ is not functioning properly, there is an overall term used, called TMJ disorder. Symptoms commonly include:

  • Aching around the ear 
  • Swollen and painful joint
  • Clicking when the mouth is opened or closed
  • Difficulty chewing or fully opening and closing the mouth
  • Associated neck pain and/or headaches

Causes of TMJ Disorders

There are a number of causes of TMJ disorders; some of which we know about, and some we don't. Factors that can be linked with the joint dysfunction include:

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

TMJ and Chiropractic

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

TMJ disorders can be extremely painful and can cause disruptions to the quality of one's life, particularly because it can be difficult to sleep properly or eat. It can feel even more frustrating because it’s not often obvious what doctor to see for TMJ issues and how to correct them. However, chiropractic is one of the best of several options available. If you or someone you know is suffering from a TMJ disorder, call us today and see how we can help you heal.