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Talking Jaw Pain and Treatment

This week in clinic I have been talking to a lot of patients about jaw pain. Yes! Chiropractors can treat your temporomandibular joint (TMJ – JAW). Some patients have come in specifically for this condition and others have been made aware of their TMJ dysfunction during assessment and treatment. The TMJ are the joints the allow us to talk, chew and yawn. They are located where the mandible, or jaw bone, joins the temporal bone of the skull. This is just in front of your ear. The movement of the joints is controlled by the muscle surrounding the joint and they allow you to move your jaw up and down, side to side and front to back.

Causes

TMJ dysfunction occurs when something goes wrong with your jaw joints and jaw muscles. Often this happens because of jaw injury, inflammation such as arthritis or overuse. However jaw problems can also be a result of stress, teeth clenching or grinding and neck injuries.

Symptoms

TMJ disorders may cause mild to severe symptoms, such as:

  • pain while chewing
  • pain in ear, jaw, face or neck
  • clicking, grating, popping sounds when opening or shutting your jaw.
  • Locking of the jaw
  • sideways deviation of the jaw on opening or closing
  • limitation of movement of the jaw
  • headaches
  • clenching or grinding of teeth

Depending on your symptoms, our chiropractic team will work with you to provide treatment and exercise to help improve the motion of your TMJ. While there is limited published systematic reviews related to TMJ dysfunction it is thought the majority of patients will respond to basic treatments.

Treatment

How can TMJ pain be treated by a chiropractor? Easy. The chiropractors at Hands On Health Care Clinic will assess your spine and jaw, plus talk to you about potential causes and habits adding to your condition. We use a variety of techniques to relieve pain, including manual therapy, massage and exercises. We may also recommend lifestyle changes, like modifying diet or sleeping habits, and breathing or meditation techniques. We will look at the whole picture involving your jaw pain. Is your posture contributing to poor joint position. Do you have neck or back problems. Also, are there any red flags. By working together with your chiropractor, you can find relief from your pain and dysfunction.

Other treatments

Besides exercises and chiropractic there are other ways to manage your TMJ pain. Sometimes it is appropriate to use multiple approaches to treatment. For example, many people with ongoing problems will use a mouthgaurd. While this wont increase the TMJ’s range of motion it will help reduce grinding or clenching. It is important, in this instance to still follow an exercise program for the jaw. Exercise is beneficial for the health of the synovial joints and muscles, this will reduce pain and increase range of motion.

Additionally there are other treatments that you might consider

  • Pain and anti-inflammatory medications prescribed by your GP
  • Mouth guards
  • Ice (10mins at a time)
  • Stress relief techniques
  • Behavioral change
  • Acupuncture  or Dry Needling (we offer dry needling as part of our chiropractic care)
  • Photobiomodulation (low level light laser – offered in clinic)
  • Consult with a TMJ dentist or periodontist
  • Botox injections
  • Postural training

 

Written By Georgina Smith Chiropractor

Georgie has owned and worked at Hands On Health for the last 17years. She has a master of Chiropractic and a Diploma in Paediatric Chiropractic but enjoys treating all age groups. Georgie offers 30minute chiropractic consults with a strong muscular focus and restoring optimum movement to the spinal joints. To book an appointment with Georgie, CLICK HERE

 

 


February 21, 2023
Georgina Smith