TMJ means temporomandibular joint. The TMJ connects the lower jaw (mandible) to your skull (the temporal bone) on the side of your head.
Do you feel pain in your jaw area? TMJ disorders (TMD) are sometimes called TMJ syndrome. It is an assortment of painful conditions that cause problems to the muscles of the jaw and the TMJ. Women with TMJ disorders are twice as many as men.
The Function of the TMJ
To locate and feel your temporomandibular joint, here’s what to do. Place your fingers in front of your ears. Then proceed to open and close your mouth. Can you feel the movement?
The TMJ is very flexible. They allow the jaw to move up and down, and from side to side. Thus, allowing typical everyday actions, including talking, chewing, eating, and making facial expressions. The muscles around the TMJ regulate their positioning and movement.
The rounded ends of the lower jaw or the condyles, move smoothly along with the joint sockets in the temporal bone whenever you open and close your mouth. When the mouth is closed, the bones return to their original position. There is a soft disc stuck between the temporal bone and the condyle. It acts as the TMJ’s shock absorber and allows for the smooth gliding motions.
Three Kinds of TMJ disorder
Have you ever wondered if you have TMJ disorder? TMD has three categories. Here are the warning signs.
Degenerative Joint Disease
Examples include osteoarthritis in the jaw joint or rheumatoid arthritis
Internal Derangement Of The Joint
Comprised of displacement of the disc, dislocation of the jaw, or injury to the condyle
It is the most common form of TMD, which causes agony in the muscles that manage the jaw function. It also includes pain in the neck and shoulder muscles.
One or all of these conditions may happen simultaneously. Further studies are needed to gather more crucial details about TMD pain. Medical researchers are still endeavoring to discover how psychological, physical, and behavioral factors add up to bring about TMD.
Questions to Ask If You Suspect You Have TMD
You may have TMD if you answered YES to more than one of these questions:
- Do you feel pain in your face, neck, shoulder, or more than one tooth?
- Do you often get headaches, mainly in the morning?
- Does your jaw click when you open or close your mouth?
- Do you clench or grind your teeth?
- Is it hard to open your mouth fully?
- Have you seen any of your teeth wearing down?
- Does it feel like your jaw is stuck close or open?
- Are you experiencing ear pain, but not due to infection?
- Do your ears ever feel stuffy or itchy?
- Are buzzing, ringing, roaring, or hissing sounds frequent in your ears?
- Is it painful when you yawn, chew, or open your mouth?
- Do your jaw muscles feel tender?
- Are you dizzy?
- Do you feel any pain around your ears?
TMJ Pain and Its Different Intensity
Experiencing TMD pain is not an automatic indicator of a severe problem. Most of the time, TMJ pain is just irregular and temporary. Some TMJ pain is mild, and some are extreme. There is a tendency for the TMJ pain to appear in cycles and then go away without any treatment necessary. Still, some people develop long-lasting symptoms. Unfortunately, for these people, severe pain may cause anxiety or depression.
How To Care For Patients With TMJ Disorders
Before you go on choosing which TMJ care is best for you, bear these crucial points in mind. Surgical options should only be your last resort because it involves risks and possible side effects. These are essential things to consider:
This type of care is widely used, simple, and should be without any invasion of the tissues of the jaw, face, or TMJ.
It is any care option that does not cause an irreversible effect. There should be no permanent changes done to the structure or position of your jaw.
Since most TMJ disorders are frequently temporary and do not get worse, there are some home remedies or actions you can do to help relieve or prevent any pain or discomfort.
Adopt a Soft Diet
Avoid chewy or hard foods like bagels and steak. Go for fish, rice, and oatmeal.
Do Not Overextend Or Overuse Your Jaw
Avoid chewing gum for now. Avoid opening your mouth too wide or yawning too often.
Use Ice Packs or a Warm Compress
Cold and hot treatment is known to help relax the jaw muscles. They also help lessen any swelling.
Perform TMJ exercises
The right jaw exercises can help improve the ability of your jaw joints to move better. It also helps reduce TMJ pain.
TMJ Disorders Are Closely Connected to Your Neck
Numerous people who suffer from TMJ disorder complain about neck pains. Not all, of course, but many of them feel neck pain combined with their TMJ pain.
It may not be the same case for you, but there is a possibility that your TMD pain originates from a misalignment in the top bones of your neck. When any of the uppermost bones, the atlas (C1) or axis (C2) vertebrae shift out of alignment, several health issues may happen.
Why would a misalignment occur in your neck or upper cervical spine? A prior neck or head accident or trauma is often to blame. It could even be a simple trip and fall to something as extreme as a car accident or full-contact sporting injury. Misalignments do happen, also even when accidents occurred many years in the past.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care and TMD Relief
A study monitored 89 TMD patients, and many of them reported that they had experienced some head or neck injury before the onset of their TMD. This research proves a definite link between the head or neck trauma and TMD. A misalignment can damagingly affect the muscles of the neck and jaw. Thus, it can result in TMD. The study also proved that by correcting the misalignment in the upper cervical spine, TMD symptoms such as swelling and numbness can stop completely.
Upper cervical chiropractors are skilled in finding and analyzing these slight misalignments in the upper spine. They can precisely and adequately correct these through low-force adjustments that are safe, accurate, and gentle. Most patients see positive results after a couple of adjustments.
Search for an upper cervical practitioner in your chosen area. Use our site’s search function to help you do this easier.