TMJ disorders are an extremely common condition that affects millions of people. For some, it is just a short-term issue that leads to some pain and discomfort but then goes away on its own. For others, TMJ pain becomes chronic and may lead to other health concerns. This makes it particularly important to find effect care.
First, we’re going to take a look at 10 things that may indicate you are dealing with TMJ dysfunction. Then we will consider a natural way to get relief that has been providing hope for those who suffer from chronic TMJ problems.
Symptom 1 – Limited Range of TMJ (temporomandibular joint) Movement
The TMJ is the jaw hinge. This unique joint allows for you to open and close your mouth but also to shift the lower mandible forward and backward or side to side. As a result of the unique range of motion, problems with the TMJ can lead to restricted motion. For example, it may be painful or impossible to open the mouth all the way or to shift the jaw in other directions.
Symptom 2 – TMJ Pain
Pain is the number one symptom when something is wrong with the jaw. Pain usually occurs in the face and may also spread down into the neck or up toward the ears.
Symptom 3 – Difficulty Eating
As TMJ disorders progress, it often becomes tougher to eat a large meal. For example, your jaw may just feel absolutely worn out by the end of a meal that involves tougher to chew foods such as a steak or a bagel.
Symptom 4 – Changes in Your Bite
Do you suddenly bite your cheek all the time or feel your teeth clink at a funny angle? If your teeth are not lining up like they once did, perhaps even to the point that it is affecting chewing, this is a solid indicator that something is wrong with your TMJ.
Symptom 5 – Jaw Movements Make Noise
For those with TMJ problems, opening or closing the jaw may start to result in popping, clicking, or even a grinding sound. While this may occasionally happen to anyone, if it becomes a regular part of moving your mouth then a TMJ disorder is likely.
Symptom 6 – The Jaw Becomes Locked in Position
It may be stuck open or closed. Either way, a jaw that has completely locked up indicates that the disc has slipped out of place and is now blocking the function of the joint in its entirety. This can be a scary situation, but it can be corrected, so don’t panic.
Symptom 7 – Facial Swelling
When the joint is out of place, you may get some facial swelling around the area of the TMJ. This inflammation can add to the pain. If the TMJ problem is the result of a traumatic injury, ice may help to reduce the swelling and pain during the first day or two after the injury.
Symptom 8 – Ear Problems
Problems with the ear are often associated with TMJ dysfunction. For example, you may suffer from an earache or ringing in the ear (called tinnitus). Of course, if you have an ear infection, these symptoms are likely related to that. But if these symptoms arise without an infection in the ear, then the problem may be with the jaw.
Symptom 9 – Headaches
Headaches are commonly associated with TMJ pain, especially when pain radiates toward the neck. You may also feel pain behind the eye along with the headache.
Symptom 10 – Neck Pain
Neck pain is actually quite commonly associated with TMJ problems. This is because the top bones of the neck, the C1 and C2 are in close proximity to the jaw. In fact, a misalignment of these upper cervical bones can lead to the conditions that cause TMJ dysfunction, ear problems, headaches, and many of the other symptoms noted here.
When It Is Time to Search for Natural TMJ Relief
For many cases of TMJ, you may be able to take care of things at home with ice and rest. Don’t eat foods that are hard to chew for a few days, and watch out for activities that stretch the jaw wide open such as loud singing. You might find that things clear up within a few days. You may not even end up needing to take any medication.
If pain persists or if you are experiencing several of the symptoms noted above, it may be time to get some help. Long-term TMJ problems can begin to affect sleep and have even more far-reaching effects on the body. So don’t wait too long to seek out care. Where can you look for relief? We’d like to introduce you to upper cervical chiropractic care.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic for TMJ Disorders
Since many TMJ problems find their genesis in the neck, it makes sense to check for misalignments in this specific area if you are dealing with this particular problem. Upper cervical chiropractors use diagnostic imaging to pinpoint the tiniest of misalignments in the top two bones of the neck. Then, the gentlest of adjustments are used to correct these subluxations. There is none of the popping or twisting associated with general chiropractic.
To find out if these precise and gentle adjustments are the right solution for your TMJ problem, contact an upper cervical practitioner in your area and schedule a no-obligation consultation.