TMJ in Madison, OH
Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, causes discomfort in the jaw, cheeks, teeth and other areas of the face and mouth. Chiropractic care from French Chiropractic and Wellness Center in Madison helps the residents of Painesville, Mentor and surrounding towns in Ohio manage the symptoms of TMJ Disorder.
What is TMJ?
Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome, otherwise known as TMJ, TMJ Disorder, Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD, is a collection of symptoms – many of which are fairly painful – that are created and prolonged by a problematic temporomandibular joint.
The temporal mandibular joint, often referred to as the “TMJ,” happens to be the most heavily worked joint in the body. Because the TMJ connects your bottom jaw to your skull, the joint plays a chief role in chewing, swallowing, talking, and yawning activities. We engage in these activities day after day. Eating and talking, two of our most important activities, can both be severely impaired with TMJ syndrome.
Therefore, it’s that much more important that your TMJ is in good working order. Temporomandibular Disorder affects roughly 35% of the entire population, however. As symptoms worsen, you may want to begin searching for a way to correct symptoms and minimize pain, which is where chiropractic treatment comes in handy.
TMJ Syndrome Symptoms
- Your most noticeable symptom will be pain. Virtually every patient dealing with TMJ Syndrome deals with related pain. Headache and earache are the most common symptoms patients tend to report. Headaches are often reported around the temples and around the base of the skull, though headaches of practically every kind have been reported. Other areas that are affected by this pain include but are not limited to the teeth, face, neck, and shoulders. For these patients, the pain may begin to radiate, or even shoot, down one or both arms, down the jaw, down the back, or even across the face.
- Patients also commonly report a popping or clicking sound in the jaw when they open and close the mouth. Many times, this sound comes as the first and most obvious clue that the cause of a patient’s pain might be coming from their jaw, even when they are experiencing no pain in the area.
- The third symptom of this disorder is the locking of or the limited mobility of the TMJ. Patients have reported their jaws locking in place or even refusing to open or close altogether. In these cases, a patient’s jaw mobility is usually quite limited compared to the normal range of motion of the jaw.
- A change in a patient’s bite can also be a sign of TMJ. Patients have reported that their teeth no longer fully come together as they had before. Sometimes, only a single side of the jaw may be affected while the other side remains feeling altogether normal. Along with the general discomfort this can bring, it can also make chewing fairly difficult.
- Patients have also reported a number of seemingly unrelated symptoms such as dizziness or vertigo, a difficult hearing, and a difficulty swallowing properly. While these symptoms are not often reported, they do still occur in TMJ cases.
- Low Progesterone. Recent evidence suggests that low levels of progesterone are also linked with TMJ, though a number of factors can come into play there.
What Causes TMJ Syndrome?
There are a number of causes linked to TMJ syndrome. These causes are split up into four categories from most common to least common:
- Muscle Dysfunction. Since they are used so often, the muscles in charge of moving the jaw can sometimes become worn out and dysfunctional. Specific targets for therapy include the medial pterygoid, lateral pterygoid, and the temporalis and masseter muscles. It should also be noted that the neurological control of the jaw muscles takes its origin in the uppermost neck region of the spinal cord, and spinal disorders in this region may also contribute to TMJ symptoms.
- Slipped Disc. There is a cartilaginous disc that works with the temporomandibular joint to cushion and protect it. This disc is in charge of a number of functions that are important for proper TMJ function. Any slip or movement in this disc will severely impact the TMJ. In fact, jaw popping noise we discussed earlier can be related to the condyle snapping over and back across a patient’s displaced disc. Subtle adjustments can be performed that will work to reduce displacement and ultimately reset the TMJ.
- Arthritis. Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease can also specifically target the TMJ. This type of arthritis causes the joint surfaces to begin to degenerate. Other arthritic diseases can sometimes affect the TMJ as well, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
- Temporal Arteritis. Although this is a fairly rare condition, it is still one that clinicians must rule out when uncovering the cause of a patient’s TMJ.
Research has also proven that a substantial number of TMJ Syndrome patients suffer from a deal of stress or even an anxiety disorder although these symptoms are not specifically related to the TMJ. However, these can lead to things that affect the TMJ and can even trigger an onset of the TMJ syndrome. Stress and anxiety can result in jaw clenching and grinding.
TMJ Chiropractic Treatment Options
Traditional treatments for TMJ range from jawbone surgery to tooth capping in the hopes of discovering relief. However, we recommend that you consult with a chiropractor first. Your chiropractor is able to detect and potentially relieve any spinal misalignments and muscle tensions that may be aggravating your jaw. A sequence of chiropractic adjustments can help to shift misaligned bones, relax muscles, and release pinched nerves. Once the treatment is improving symptoms, occasional treatments are recommended to control the condition. Also, because stress can be a major factor of the disorder, our team will even work with you to suggest lifestyle changes that will reduce your stress levels.
Isn’t it time you tried chiropractic care for you and your family? If you are experiencing any of the common symptoms of TMJ, please contact our office now to schedule an appointment.