The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower mandible to the skull and is thus responsible for chewing, speaking, and other movements of the jaw. What can cause TMJ pain and what symptoms may accompany the pain? We will address these topics as well as reveal a potential way to attain long-term relief.
What Causes TMJ Pain?
Most websites will list the number one cause of TMJ pain as trauma. However, when this term is used so loosely, most people naturally assume it only refers to trauma occurring directly to the jaw. However, the skull, neck, and jaw are all closely related. Thus, any type of head or neck injury could lead to jaw pain. Also, repetitive motions such as clenching the jaw due to stress or grinding one’s teeth (bruxism) are also potential causes.
What Are the Symptoms of a TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorders lead to more than just jaw pain. Pain may radiate throughout the face and toward both the ear and the neck. Also, tinnitus (ringing in the ear) may occur. Many hear a clicking or grinding sound while chewing or otherwise moving the jaw. Jaw movement may be restricted making it difficult to open and close the mouth fully.
Finding the Right Way to Obtain Long-Term Relief
Occasional jaw pain may be due to inflammation. Therefore, ice can often reduce the swelling and help hold a person over until the pain subsides. However, frequently recurring jaw pain should not be ignored. It could be a sign of a further underlying problem such as an upper cervical misalignment.
The atlas (top bone of the spine) is located close enough to the jaw and ears to create problems throughout this area. This explains why neck, jaw, and ear symptoms often occur together, although a person can have an atlas misalignment without experiencing neck pain.
An upper cervical chiropractor can correct such a misalignment. As a result, the body can heal soft tissue damage, and nerves that have been compressed can get some relief. For many patients, this has meant long-term relief from the symptoms of TMJ disorders.