Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can be incredibly uncomfortable, disrupting your daily life with symptoms such as jaw pain, headaches, and even difficulty in opening and closing the mouth. While there are various treatments available, chiropractic care has shown promise as an effective approach to managing TMJ issues. Visiting a Billings chiropractor can be the first step toward less pain and fewer symptoms.
What Is TMJ?
While some people think TMJ is just a clicking in the jaw, it is important to understand what the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is and why issues with it can be so debilitating. The TMJ is the hinge-like joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. This joint is fundamental to a range of basic functions, such as chewing, speaking, and yawning.
Disorders affecting this joint can arise from various factors, including jaw injuries, arthritis, or even habits like teeth grinding or thumb sucking. Symptoms often include jaw pain, headaches, and clicking or popping sounds when moving the mouth. In severe cases, the condition can even limit the ability to open or close one’s mouth entirely.
Addressing the Root Cause Through Spinal Alignment
One of the unique advantages of chiropractic care is its focus on treating the root causes rather than just managing symptoms. Misalignment in the spine, particularly in the neck and upper back, can contribute to TMJ disorders. A chiropractor can perform spinal adjustments to realign these areas, thereby improving the function and positioning of the temporomandibular joint itself. This approach aims to correct imbalances in your musculoskeletal system that may be causing or exacerbating your TMJ symptoms. Spinal alignment can also alleviate nerve compression, which is often an underlying factor in the pain associated with TMJ disorders.
Chiropractors like Dr. Thomas Keogh use various techniques tailored specifically for TMJ issues, which can include adjustments of the jaw joint itself. With regular chiropractic adjustments to the spine and even the jaw joint itself, many people experience a significant reduction in pain, as well as improvements in jaw mobility and function.
Complementary Therapies and Lifestyle Recommendations
In addition to spinal and joint adjustments, chiropractic care often incorporates complementary therapies such as acupuncture, heat or ice application, and ultrasound therapy. These treatments can offer additional relief from the pain and tension that come with TMJ disorders. Additionally, chiropractors can provide practical advice on lifestyle changes that can help you manage your symptoms more effectively. This might include tips on posture, exercises to strengthen jaw muscles, or recommendations on dietary adjustments that can reduce inflammation.
The goal is not just to relieve your symptoms temporarily but to find and treat the underlying causes for long-lasting relief. If you’ve been struggling with TMJ symptoms and are looking for a more comprehensive form of treatment, visit Bare Chiropractic for a personalized consultation and treatment plan. With our care, you could be well on your way to a life free from the discomfort and limitations that come with TMJ disorders.
DeVocht, J.W., Schaeffer, W., Lawrence, D.J. “Chiropractic treatment of temporomandibular disorders using the activator adjusting instrument and protocol.” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 2005 Nov-Dec; 11 (6): 70-3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16320863/
Edwards, D.C., Bowes, C.C., Penlington, C., Durham, J. “Temporomandibular disorders and dietary changes: A cross-sectional survey.” Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, 2021 Aug; 48 (8): 873-879. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34031904/