Do you wake up in the morning with a stiff, sore jaw? Do you hear popping or clicking sounds when you chew or open your mouth wide? If so, then you might be dealing with TMJ. Temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly referred to as TMJ, refers to a specific joint that connects your jaw to your skull. Both sides of your face have a temporomandibular joint, and it is what helps you open and close your jaw, talk, and eat. TMJ can cause pain and discomfort that start to affect your quality of life. Visit your chiropractor in Conyers if you are struggling with TMJ and learn about how chiropractic can help.
Common Causes of TMJ
TMJ disorders have a number of common causes. Perhaps the most obvious cause of TMJ and pain in your jaw is due to trauma to the jaw and joint. However, you can also develop TMJ pain over time with bad habits like clenching and grinding your teeth. People tend to clench and grind their teeth at night without always noticing it, which can make it tricky to recognize until you start experiencing symptoms. Clenching your teeth can cause your jaw muscles to tighten and become stiff. Structural problems with the jaw can also make you more susceptible to developing TMJ disorders. Other risk factors for TMJ include stress and anxiety, poor diet, lack of sleep, and poor posture in your head and neck.
Symptoms of TMJ
The symptoms of TMJ can differ depending on the cause of your TMJ and its severity. The most common symptoms people experience with TMJ include jaw pain and discomfort in the surrounding area. You may also experience pain in your face and along your neck. TMJ disorders can cause a clicking or popping sound in the affected area. TMJ can also cause stiffness and soreness in your jaw muscles, and you may even experience locking of the jaw at times. TMJ can also cause symptoms in the ears, like ear pain and tinnitus, or ringing in the ear. Some people experience symptoms of TMJ on one side of their face only, while many others experience symptoms on both sides.
Chiropractic Care for TMJ
There isn’t a specific test to determine if you have a TMJ disorder. Your dentist may point out bite and alignment issues or note that you are clenching or grinding your teeth. An ear, nose, and throat specialist can also help you determine what is causing pain in your jaw, face, and neck. Here is what you can expect when you visit a chiropractor for TMJ.
Your chiropractor will want to hear about your symptoms, including when you first noticed the pain and if it gets worse with certain movements or postures. This is also the time to talk to your chiropractor about if you have heard any clicking or popping sounds while you eat. In more severe cases, your chiropractor may also want to run diagnostic imaging tests of your head and neck, like X-rays or CT scans, to look at the structure of your jaw.
Your chiropractor will perform a physical examination of your jaw, chin, and neck to assess the area. This will help determine if you have any swelling or inflammation in the jaw muscles or joints. A physical exam can also help your chiropractor feel how your joint functions when you open and close your mouth or grind your teeth.
A TMJ chiropractic adjustment helps to loosen your jaw muscles and reduce your pain from TMJ. Your chiropractor will want to assess whether the jaw joint is aligned properly and also use soft tissue techniques with gentle and light motions. Your chiropractor may also want to combine TMJ chiropractic adjustments with additional support like dry needling.
You shouldn’t have to deal with a stiff, sore jaw every time you start your day. If you are dealing with TMJ symptoms, then visit AICA Orthopedics in Conyers to talk to our team of chiropractors about getting a TMJ adjustment. We offer all-natural and non-invasive treatment options through chiropractic care so you can skip the needles and the surgeries and still experience lasting relief.