How Can a Chiropractor Treat TMJ Pain?
by Dr. Scott Bolding
Do you suffer from chronic jaw pain or discomfort while eating, speaking, or yawning? If so, you may be affected by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. If you have jaw joint pain, you should treat it immediately. However, the proper treatment depends on the severity and cause of your pain.
Treat mild TMJ pain with rest, pain medication, and ice/heat therapy. If these don’t help relieve your pain, your doctor will prescribe a TMJ mouthguard. In severe cases, TMJ surgery is necessary. Depending on the cause of your TMJ pain, consider seeing a chiropractor. Chiropractors use various techniques to address TMJ pain, especially if your pain is due to misalignment.
However, it’s important to note that chiropractic care is not always sufficient to treat TMJ disorders. Most patients will require a combination of treatments. You’ll need a team that works together to relieve your pain.
At PRECiDENT, we value collaboration. We want to help you get the proper treatment for your TMJ pain. And sometimes, the best way to do that is by working with other doctors who are experts in their fields, including chiropractors. This blog post will explore how chiropractors can treat TMJ pain. We’ll also explore how our team can work with your chiropractor to provide the most effective treatment.
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What is TMJ Pain?
The TMJ is the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. It acts as a hinge that lets you open your mouth and move your jaw from side to side. If your TMJ is damaged or misaligned, it can cause pain, known as a TMJ disorder. Jaw joint pain is the defining symptom of a TMJ disorder. Other symptoms include:
- Ear pain
- Jaw lock
- Clicking noises in the joint
TMJ pain also creates stiffness in the joint. It can be challenging to open and close your mouth. People with TMJ disorders often have difficulty eating certain foods like apples or crusty bread.
Causes of TMJ Pain
If you want to understand how a chiropractor treats TMJ pain, it’s helpful to know the different causes of TMJ pain. Damage or misalignment are the most common causes of TMJ disorders.
Damage happens for several reasons. First, the TMJ is like the other joints in the body. So it’s susceptible to arthritis and other diseases that cause damage.
Stress can also cause damage to the joint. When you’re stressed, your body sometimes reacts by grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw. This is known as bruxism. Over time, the pressure caused by bruxism causes the joint to break down.
Misalignment can happen due to an injury of some sort.
Your jaw joint has a disc known as the synovial disc. This disc provides nutrients to the TMJ. It also lubricates the joint so it can move smoothly. Unfortunately, getting hit in the face can move this disc out of its natural position. When this happens, the joint no longer gets the nutrients it needs. This causes a breakdown of the cartilage on the joint. Without lubrication from the disc, the bones of the joint rub against each other, leading to inflammation and pain.
Your posture can also affect your jaw joint. Poor posture forces your body out of its natural alignment. For example, if you’re slouching, your head starts to push forward to stay balanced. Then the muscles around your jaw can become strained. Poor posture also causes problems with your bite. A bad bite makes you work harder to chew, putting a strain on your TMJ.
What is a Chiropractor?
Chiropractors focus on treating issues with your musculoskeletal system. This system includes bones, joints, nerves, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They’re most well known for treating problems with your back and neck. But chiropractors can treat TMJ pain, and other joint pain, too.
The goal of a chiropractor is to help your body maintain good alignment and posture. Proper alignment is essential for your body to stay balanced. When any part of your body is misaligned, it can lead to pain and inflammation.
Chiropractors often focus on helping your body heal itself. However, they can treat various issues with manual adjustments, soft-tissue therapy, and exercises.
How Does a Chiropractor Treat TMJ Pain?
A chiropractor treats TMJ pain by addressing misalignment in the joint. The goal is to decrease pain and increase mobility in the joint.
Chiropractic treatment for TMJ disorders includes a combination of:
- Manual adjustments
- Soft tissue therapy
Occasionally, they may treat spine, upper back, and shoulder issues. Remember, posture can play a role in TMJ pain. So, correcting your posture and the alignment of your spine can help address the underlying cause of your jaw joint pain.
Can a Chiropractor Treat TMJ Pain?
A chiropractor can treat TMJ pain. They can help address issues with the alignment of your jaw. But in most cases, chiropractic treatment alone won’t fix your jaw joint issues. You’ll need to work chiropractic care in with the rest of your treatment plan.
Rest is usually the key to relief if you have mild TMJ pain. You can see a chiropractor to help relieve pain and reset your joint as you rest. An oral surgeon may prescribe a TMJ mouthguard to help support your joint. A chiropractor can help make adjustments to keep your joint correctly aligned.
And if you get TMJ surgery, a chiropractor can make your treatment more effective.
Whether or not a chiropractor can treat TMJ pain depends on your case. You’ll need to start with a thorough diagnosis. After a diagnosis, your medical team will work together to develop the right treatment plan.
Can a Chiropractor Help With TMJ? (n.d.). Vida Integrated Health. https://thinkvida.com/blog/tmj/#:~:text=The%20main%20focus%20of%20chiropractic,muscle%20tension%2C%20and%20improve%20flexibility.
I. (2022, July 11). Best Chiropractic TMJ Adjustment & How A Chiropractor Can Help. Kalkstein Chiropractic. https://www.towsonchiro.com/best-chiropractic-tmj-adjustment-how-a-chiropractor-can-help/
WebMD Editorial Contributors. (2020a, November 25). What Is a Chiropractor? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-chiropractor
Collaborative Care for TMJ Disorders
How Chiropractors Treat TMJ Pain?
In conclusion, chiropractors can treat TMJ pain. Chiropractic treatment for TMJ disorders involves various techniques to alleviate pain. But most patients will require a combination of treatments to manage their symptoms effectively. Collaborative care between chiropractors and other healthcare professionals, such as oral surgeons, can provide patients with a more comprehensive approach to treating TMJ pain.
If you’re experiencing TMJ pain, we encourage you to seek a collaborative treatment approach. At PRECiDENT Center for Facial and Dental Medicine, we value collaboration with other doctors to provide the best treatment for our patients. Contact us today to learn how we can help you manage your TMJ pain and improve your quality of life.