Can TMJ be Treated by a Chiropractor?
If you have a Temporomandibular Disorder (also known as TMJ), you know how painful it can be and how much discomfort comes along with it. We at Epic Healthcare & Physical Medicine know it can also be embarrassing as you attempt to relieve pain by opening your mouth as wide as you can while co-workers, family members, or strangers look on in wonder. But you don’t have to suffer with the painful and uncomfortable disorder. Many people are turning to a chiropractor for TMJ treatments.
What are the symptoms of TMJ?
TMJ causes unpleasant popping noises when you eat, or the crackling sound often described as “Rice Krispies.” It can also leave you with a tender and swollen face. Some say that they’re unable to lay on the side of their head at night due to the discomfort.
The tightness in your jaw caused by TMJ is the culprit for the tension headaches you suffer. Other signs may include dizziness, difficulty opening the mouth completely, toothaches, swelling in the face, and locking of the jaw. If these issues have lasted more than three months, then you may have a chronic case of TMJ.
You are not alone, some 15% of adults in the United States suffer from TMJ according to the Arizona Dental Association. These problems can interfere with your ability to eat and sleep; disrupting your daily life. The standard way to deal with TMJ is by consulting a doctor or dentist; yet, there are a growing number of people who suffer with TMJ who don’t find relief through these methods. Instead, they seek out a third viable option to treat the disorder when other options have failed.
Thankfully, there’s hope for these people. Studies have shown that seeing a chiropractor for TMJ treatment is very effective. Let’s take a closer look at why you should see a chiropractor if you suffer from TMJ.
Chiropractic Treatment for TMJ
A recent study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that there is a measurable reduction in the symptoms suffered by those with TMJ when treated by a chiropractor. The case was true of the entire spectrum of symptoms the study subjects underwent. With tangible proof that being treated by a chiropractor reduces the symptoms of TMJ one question remains, why not see a chiropractor to relieve your TMJ symptoms? Perhaps you are still skeptical and need more proof. Let’s move on to the mechanics of why a treatment from a chiropractor works for TMJ.
How Chiropractors Treat TMJ
Perhaps the most head-on treatment a chiropractor can perform on a patient is intraoral myofascial release. This method releases tension in the jaw by the chiropractor probing the inside of the jaw.
The masseter muscle is examined with an index finger; carefully feeling for any tight or tender areas in the jaw. When a sore or taught area is discovered, a press and release technique is used to repeatedly until the area shows signs of improvement.
The same press and release method is used for muscles in the lower jaw and also on the side of the head. Treatment of the aforementioned area has been shown to bring immediate relief to TMJ sufferers, making it more effective than many medications. If there are any dental issues present in the patient’s mouth, the chiropractor will consult their dentist to ensure that sensitive teeth are treated with care.
In some cases, many use neck and spinal adjustments with a chiropractor for TMJ relief. If the spine is out of alignment then it could have an impact on your jaw.
Chiropractors Treat More than Back Pain
Your body is a network of nerves, strands of muscle tissue, a sturdy skeleton to connect to and various organs. It is logical then that when one area of the body has difficulty, the other regions have trouble as well. This is why a chiropractor can treat your TMJ by addressing more than just your jaw.
When a chiropractor adjusts your spine, tension from your back and neck muscles release. This allows the muscles in your jaw to relax because you will not be clenching your teeth in pain. Grinding your teeth (known as bruxism) is one of the leading causes of TMJ and pain is stress and anxiety which can lead to muscle pain.
Receiving an adjustment from a chiropractor addresses the causes on both fronts. A feeling of well-being one receives after a spinal alignment can alleviate stress and therefore reduce stress. You can also have areas where neck pain from TMJ and neck pain from your spine intersect. Adjustments bring a reduction in neck pain by treating one of the sources.
Treating TMJ with Chiropractic Care: A Clear Choice
For those who suffer from TMJ, there is an obvious reason to seek out a chiropractor for their condition: because it works.
Science has recognized the methods and techniques that chiropractors use to treat TMJ; so much so that dentists have begun to adopt the same methods and techniques. It is in the best interest of the person who suffers from TMJ to consider how treatment by a chiropractor could improve their quality of life.
There is a real possibility of the elimination sleepless nights, the stopping of constant tension headaches, and the lack of popping and cracking noises while eating. The proof is evident, chiropractors can treat TMJ.