Your Guide to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
Temporomandibular joint disorder, usually referred to as TMJ, is a relatively common condition, particularly among those ages 20 to 40. Yet not a lot of people know what it is or what causes it. Instead, they carry on with jaw pain that they don’t have to, not knowing what to do about it and not seeking help until it becomes a more serious issue.
You can get chiropractic treatment for TMJ pain relief in Mesa if you suffer from the condition. But first you need to know what you have and what’s causing it.
What is TMJ?
Put your hand on your face just next to your ear. Now open and close your mouth. You will feel a bone rise and fall under your fingers. That is the point where your jaw bone meets your skull, which is known as the temporomandibular joint. When that joint becomes damaged or otherwise injured, you can get temporomandibular joint disorder.
TMJ does not go away on its own, and it can cause you serious distress. Mild cases might just make eating uncomfortable, but more serious cases can cause intense pain.
Symptoms of TMJ
Pain around the joint is the most noticeable symptom of TMJ and the one that makes most people seek treatment. But it is not the only symptom.
If you have TMJ, you may also notice a clicking or popping in the joint. You might hear the sound when you open or close your mouth, or you may feel the popping instead. You can also feel popping in your ears. In extreme cases, the jaw may lock up instead so that you can’t open it at all.
You may have other pain that doesn’t seem to be related to your jaw at all. For example, you may have an ear ache, pain around your temples, or just general pain or soreness in your jaw. Your jaw muscles may also feel stiff.
Causes of TMJ
An injury may be the most obvious cause of TMJ. You might get into a car accident or have a serious fall that results in a blow to the mouth or the face. The impact can put pressure on the joint and damage it, resulting in TMJ.
Other, less noticeable, actions can also lead to TMJ. For example, if you grind your teeth at night, you can damage the joint over time. If your jaw or bite is misaligned, you can damage the joint over time with the improper movement of your mouth.
Chronic stress can also lead to TMJ because it can cause constant clenching of the jaw, which can damage the joint over time. Arthritis can damage the joint the same as it does other joints.
Chewing gum and even poor posture can all lead to TMJ, as well.
When you seek treatment for TMJ pain relief, your health provider will try to get to the bottom of what caused your condition to determine the proper course of action. For example, if you have a misaligned bite, treatment designed for arthritis won’t do anything to help.
Chiropractic Treatment for TMJ
Chiropractic treatment in Mesa can often help with TMJ. Poor posture, stress, and muscular tension can all lead to TMJ because they can cause poor alignment in the spine that can lead to malfunctioning of the jaw that leads to joint damage.
A TMJ chiropractor can perform adjustments that relieve that tension and bring the spine back into alignment. The treatment is especially important around the top of the spine and the neck.