Can a Chiropractor Help With TMJ? – Northbrook IL
If you’re struggling with pain and discomfort associated with temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD or TMJ) or joint pain, you’ve probably tried it all. You may have tried TMJ home remedies, medications (such as over-the-counter pain relievers), muscle relaxers, mouthguards, temporomandibular joint dysfunction splints, orthodontia, TMJ massage therapy, prescription medications, and the list goes on. You may have relieved your symptoms for a while but they came back. You just can’t seem to make the pain go away. You may be thinking can a chiropractor help with TMJ? Let’s start with some basics.
What Are the Signs of TMJ?
For some people, TMJ pain can be an unbearable, excruciating pain in the jaw and face, but doesn’t always present this way for everyone.
Some Signs of TMJ Include:
- Neck pain
- TMJ headaches
- TMJ-related muscle spasms
- Teeth grinding
- Jaw pain
- Ear pain
- Sore muscles
- Shoulder pain
- Tingling or numbness in your arms or hands
- Tenderness around the jaw
- Trouble opening your mouth all of the way
- A popping or clicking sound when opening your mouth
These symptoms can interfere with the quality of your life, causing problems at work, interrupting your daily tasks, making it difficult to sleep, and adding to your level of stress.
If you haven’t found a solution to your TMJ pain, or you’re not sure that is what you have, take comfort in knowing that you aren’t out of options.
Can a Chiropractor Help Fix TMJ?
If you have any of these symptoms, you’ll need to get the problem corrected, instead of just trying to cover up the pain. If you’re tired of these symptoms and frustrated that nothing seems to be working for them, then keep reading to find out why and how a chiropractor can help with TMJ and what he or she can do for you.
What is TMJ Pain and Why Can a Chiropractor Help?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. This joint acts as a hinge between your mandible (your jaw bone) and your skull. When there is damage done to this joint on either side of your jaw, it can cause pain in the joint, as well as the muscles surrounding the joints.
You may not know when or how the TMJ pain started. TMJ jaw pain is usually caused by a trauma or an injury, such as head or neck trauma, that can sometimes play a role, as well as arthritis, teeth grinding, jaw clenching, and erosion of the joint.
Anyone who’s been in a motor vehicle accident, hit their head as a child, or played sports may be at risk for TMJ.
TMJ is known to affect 20-30 percent of adults, which makes it pretty common. That’s over 14,000 people with TMJ in Glenview alone.
Those who have TMJ may have had an injury earlier on in life and may not remember it. Sometimes the exact reason this happens remains unknown.
Even though the cause is sometimes unknown, what is known is that the alignment of the spine can play a large role in TMJ pain. This is because the way that the head sits on your spine dictates how your jaw moves.
Your spine is made up of “blocks” called vertebrae that stack up one on top of the other. In between these vertebrae are discs. The spine runs from the pelvis, all the way up to the base of the skull. The skull sits on the spine.
Since the spine is holding up your head and balancing your jaw, if the spine is not properly aligned it can tilt the jaw hinge, wearing it down and causing your problems.
If the jaw isn’t moving properly or becomes imbalanced, it can put stress on the temporomandibular joint. When this happens, muscles in this area (as well as neck and shoulder muscles) tense up and over time become tired and fatigued as they work extra hard to keep the jaw balanced.
To alleviate symptoms of TMJ and fix the problem, you need to treat the root cause of your problem, the spinal misalignment.
Think of your vertebrae as building blocks. Let’s say you build a tower 24 blocks high, stacking them on top of each other one by one. Now imagine that a block somewhere in the middle somehow gets shifted slightly out of place. The block at the top becomes wobbly or even falls off. If you fix just the top block without fixing the blocks under it that have shifted, it’ll just fall right off again, or your whole tower may have worsening problems and just fall apart.
The same goes for your spine. If you have a misalignment somewhere along the way and are having problems with your jaw, just trying to fix your jaw won’t solve your problem.
Once the jaw hinge is tilted and begins to wear down, no work you have done on the jaw, cheeks, or teeth alone is going to help, since the problem begins with your spine.
What Does a Chiropractor Do For TMJ?
A chiropractor can determine if the cause of your TMJ pain is from the TMJ muscles, or the spine holding it. He or she can work to correct the problem naturally, without medications, oral appliances, or surgery.
At Align Wellness Center, we specialize in Chiropractic Biophysics, which is based on science and uses biology, physiology, anatomy, geometry, and physics to determine the source of your ailments. Once the source is determined, you’ll get a treatment plan specific to you.
Your chiropractor can get your spinal posture corrected, which can help realign your jaw, relieving your pain.
Using Chiropractic Biophysics for postural correction has been proven to be an effective treatment.  Your treatment plan may include:
Regular chiropractic adjustments. When you get an adjustment, your chiropractor will use his hands or special tools to apply a gentle and controlled force to your vertebrae to get your spine back into alignment.
Exercises for TMJ Pain. Your chiropractor may give you exercises to do in the office or at home.
Spinal Remodeling. This is a way of resetting your spine back to how it’s meant to be by using special traction devices.
Your treatment plan will restore proper alignment, relieve pain, and make your body function optimally.
If you are in Glenview or surrounding areas and are suffering from TMJ symptoms, call our office to schedule an appointment or come see us at 900 Skokie Blvd., Suite 113, Northbrook IL 60062.
Let’s get you feeling and working your best.