Improving Your Posture

Do You Have TMJ Dysfunction? How Chiropractic Work Can Help

A TMJ disorder, or dysfunction, occurs when your temporomandibular joints—the joints that connect your jaws to your skull—become inflamed. If you have pain or soreness in your jaw, hear clicking noises when opening your mouth, have difficulty eating/talking, or have headaches and/or sore neck muscles, you may have this problem. Read on to learn more about TMJ dysfunction and how to treat it.

What Causes TMJ Dysfunction?

Sometimes a cause is never discovered by your doctor—you may have the problem simply because of how your teeth, bones, and ligaments are shaped and positioned. The temporomandibular joint is like your shoulder or hip since it is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball of the joint, known as the condyle, can slide back and forth when you open your mouth. However, sometimes the condyle can't move back into place if you happen to have loose ligaments, which in turn can cause TMJ dysfunction over time.

However, there are some causes of TMJ that are pretty surprising, for instance, if you are a big gum chewer, you could develop this condition. Sitting for long periods with poor posture can also make you more prone to TMJ dysfunction.

Lastly, if you've suffered a facial injury, have arthritis, or have bruxism, you are more likely to develop this problem.

How Can the Problem Be Treated?

If your TMJ dysfunction is caused by bruxism, your dentist can set you up with a mouthguard. However, if you can't figure out the exact cause and have chronic joint dysfunction, you may be relying on muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medications.

One great way to reduce your need for medications is to look into chiropractic treatment. Some people have flare-ups of symptoms when they are stressed, so your chiropractic can teach you some massage techniques and stretches so that your jaw can relax. Along with teaching you how to correctly stretch and massage the joint, he or she may encourage ice or heat therapy to reduce pain and relax muscles further.

If your condition causes your jaw to lock often, your Chiropractors can actually adjust the joint so that your jaw can return to a proper bite position. Some chiropractors will adjust areas of the spine and neck to relieve muscle tension in the neck, which should also help you reduce the severity and frequency of your headaches. Spinal adjustments are important since they can help your central nervous system work more efficiently during healing.  

Contact a chiropractor office like Gerleman Chiropractic Office for more information on how you can manage chronic TMJ dysfunction.