Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) refers to problems between the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the jaw muscles. TMD can present as pain in the jaw joint or muscles, a clicking or popping sound when opening or closing your mouth, incorrect movement of the jaw, or a combination of all three. You will often notice that one side of your mouth doesn't open as wide as the other. Other symptoms include a stiff jaw, dizziness, and tinnitus. You may experience some difficulty in opening and closing your mouth.
Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) is commonly known as "TMJ." It is reported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research that as many as 10 million people have a temporomandibular joint disorder.
As you open your mouth, and your temporomandibular joint is out of alignment, the upper end of the mandible can slide out of place and then pop back into place as you close your mouth, which can create an audible popping sound. If you have TMJ, your jaw may also move from side to side as you open your mouth.
TMJ pain is commonly located in the joint area of the jaw (mandible) or jaw muscles. However, TMJ pain can also present as headaches, neck pain, and pain in or around the ear.
TMJ may be the result of a misalignment of the jaw, which could be caused by an accident or head trauma. Other causes include grinding or clenching your teeth while you are awake or asleep, skeletal malformation, poor nutrition, or joint deterioration (arthritis). TMJ disorders are 2 to 3 times more common in females than males.
Chiropractic care for TMJ involves joint alignment and attending to soft tissue problems. The three main areas of focus in treating TMJ include the jaw muscles, the upper vertebrae of the cervical spine, and the temporomandibular joint itself.
The jaw muscles, which include the masseter, temporalis, and pterygoid muscles, receive soft tissue treatment using A.R.T. (Active Release Techniques) to help relax the jaw muscles. The masseter muscle is the thick muscle on the side of your jaw crucial for chewing. The temporalis muscle is a fan-shaped muscle located on the temple. The pterygoid muscles are on the inner side of the jaw.
The top two vertebrae of the cervical spine (neck) are called C1 and C2. The nerves exiting the cervical spine at C1 and C2 control the jaw muscles (among other responsibilities), so their alignment must be correct. Dr. Olson will make any necessary adjustments to correct any misalignment (subluxation) to the vertebrae in your neck.
Dr. Olson will also check the alignment of your jaw and gently correct the alignment of your jaw. This adjustment should stop your jaw from clicking or popping as you open and shut your mouth. It is also common to experience a release of tension in the jaw area and relief from pain.
After correcting your TMJ disorder, Dr. Olson may prescribe some exercises for you to do at home to help relieve tightness and tension in your jaw muscles.
Call Dr. Gary Olson at 631.462.0917 to set an appointment or use our convenient form below. If you found this article informative, please recommend it to your friends and family.
© 2018 Dr. Gary Olson DC, PC, The Long Island Spine & Sports Injury Center
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The contents of this website are based upon the opinions and experience of Dr. Olson. The information on this site is not intended as medical advice. The information contained on this website is a sharing of knowledge based on the experience, training, and research of Dr. Olson. Dr. Olson recommends that patients make their health care decisions after doing their research and consulting with a qualified health care professional.
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