TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint. Sounds serious. It is probably because this joint links the skull to the jaw. The temporomandibular joint comes in a pair, so there is one in front of each ear. The TMJ plays a critical role in making normal activities like chatting and chewing a reality. Whether at home or work, getting immediate TMJ relief can help alleviate pain.
The temporomandibular joints are one of the busiest joints in our body. Even if you do not have a speaking job and you are all alone in the office, it is highly possible that you are singing along to your favorite song or even chewing some gum. Plus, you are sipping your nth cup of coffee that will power you through the extra hours in the office.
The temporomandibular joints work with the lower jaw muscles in achieving these jaw movements:
- Open and close
- Forward and backward
There are also soft tissue discs that make these jaw movements happen as smoothly as possible. The discs absorb any tension caused by such motions. All of these occur like clock-work, and we do not even pay attention to these intricate processes. That is until we feel some pain and suspect that something is off.
A TMJ disorder may start with one or a few of these tell-tale signs:
- Tenderness in the facial area
- Evident pain associated with munching, yawning or speaking
- Difficulty in achieving facial expressions when surprised or horrified
- Hearing clicks or pops when moving the jaw
These symptoms can lead to aches in the head, ear, face, and even neck. Different people may have varying experiences with their TMJ disorders, but the signs are likely similar. One unique indication of an issue with the TMJs is when the afflicted person hears clicks and pops when moving the jaw. Once you hear it, you likely have it.
A lot of reasons can lead to a TMJ disorder. Here are some of the typical factors:
- Habitual teeth gritting or jaw clenching
- Head trauma
Kicking the habit of gritting and clenching is something you can do on your own. The other two might need medical support from a healthcare professional.
TMJ Relief Options
Ultimately, it is best to seek medical help. However, here are some things you can do now at home if you want to alleviate the pain caused by a TMJ disorder:
Keep stress levels low.
Are you likely to grit your teeth or clench your jaws when trying to hold something in? It is an admirable action when you are trying to put a lid on your temper. You should be aware and immediately stop yourself from doing such in the event of a TMJ disorder.
Be aware of your bodily reaction. Gently massage your facial muscles to ease the tautness. Tension around the temporomandibular joints will aggravate your case.
Mind what you eat.
Open your mouth gently when eating. Opt for smaller, pre-cut servings, so the mouth does not have to exert so much effort when chewing.
Limit jaw movement.
Use your mobile device and move your conversations there in the meantime. Hopefully, the wide choice of emojis can help you fully express what you feel.
Reach out for the ice pack.
An ice pack may help reduce facial swelling if any. The cool bag might provide temporary relief, as well. Not having an ice pack at home is not a deal-breaker. Check your freezer and see if you have a bag of frozen peas. Simply wrapping it in a soft cloth will do the trick.
Try some facial exercises.
Gently stretching your face may help reduce some of the muscle tension. Facial exercises can mitigate the effects of pain due to a TMJ disorder and may provide TMJ relief.
Seek professional care.
If your TMJ was likely caused by arthritis or trauma to the head, you might need to see a health care professional. The results of your complete physical evaluation and scans may help doctors identify the aggravating factor and create a care plan for you.
We know we can find the temporomandibular joints in the jaw area of the head. We are also aware that the head is linked to the rest of the body by the neck. Also known as the cervical spine, the neck has bones and discs which enable the head to accomplish a range of movements. Some of these movements include the use of the TMJs.
TMJ Relief and Upper Cervical Chiropractors
Upper cervical chiropractors are well-trained in assessing trauma in the neck area. They also complete full evaluations and review scans to determine if the bones are correctly aligned. A properly aligned cervical spine allows our internal systems to deliver messages to the brain and the rest of the body without any issues.
In misalignment cases, message delivery problems and misinformation might trigger pain and discomfort. One of such conditions is the TMJ disorder.
Upper cervical chiropractors can help determine misalignment that might be causing your TMJ disorder. Once they find out that the neck is no longer properly aligned, they will develop a customized program for you. Using gentle, precise techniques, they can correct any gaps and imbalance.
You can check our directory for a list of upper cervical chiropractors in your area. Perhaps one of them can help you find TMJ relief and make talking less painful.