Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
What is your TMJ? If you place your fingers in front of either ear and wiggle your jaw, you’ll feel an opening that changes shape. That is the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) where the temporal bone of the skull attaches to your jaw. According to the American Dental Association, nearly 30% of Americans have TMJ problems, called TMJ Dysfunction or TMJ Syndrome.
The 10 Symptoms of TMJ Syndrome
- Clicking & popping of the TMJ
- Grinding teeth or grinding noise in joint
- Headaches and migraines
- Ringing in the ears
- Excessive wear on teeth (via grinding of teeth)
- Severe pain in jaw or face
- Pain in neck, especially upper neck
The Chiropractic Approach to TMJ
Spinal problems and TMJ syndrome are often related. In fact, chiropractic care may help you avoid TMJ surgery. We would advise surgery not be done until chiropractic and proper dental support is provided unless there is a known tumor, fracture or serious joint pathology. In the interest of better patient care, chiropractors and dentists are beginning to work together more frequently on this condition.
Chiropractic adjustments of the upper cervical area alone can help restore proper function to the TMJ. Improper alignment and motioning in the neck can affect head tilt and rotation causing irritation to the TMJ. A 1st cervical vertebrae or “Atlas” subluxation (misalignment) can actually put pressure on the TMJ causing pain and irritation. Supplement treatments of trigger point therapy around the jaw is utilized to release tension in tight muscle and tissues as well. Acupuncture has also had great results with TMJ decreasing the pain and muscle tension surrounding the joint.
Chiropractic or acupuncture should be explored by all TMJ sufferers.