What Causes TMJ Dysfunction & How Can Chiropractic Help?

Linsay Way Chiropractic 23 Comments , , , ,
What Is TMJ Dysfunction?
Temporal Mandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD), also known as TMJ syndrome, is a complex musculoskeletal condition involving the teeth and mandible in conjunction with the surrounding nerves, ligaments, connective tissue, and the 68 pairs of muscles that control the joint. TMJ syndrome symptoms can vary from case to case but those with the condition will often experience jaw pain, headaches, problems chewing, earaches, clicking and grinding, or difficulty opening/closing the mouth. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the disorder affects approximately 35 million people in the United States, with women experiencing it four times more often than men.

What Causes TMJ Dysfunction?
When the joint between the temporal (temple) and mandibular (jaw) bones is misaligned it displaces the articular disc that allows for the smooth gliding motion of the joint. The clicking noise often associated with TMJ syndrome will occur when the condyle (head) of the mandible passes over the ridge of the disk. While severe injury to the jaw is the most common cause, this type of misalignment can be caused by a variety of physical and emotional stresses. For example, anything from a hit to the side of the face during a sporting activity to chewing gum excessively or having extensive dental work done may cause TMJ dysfunction.

Treatment of TMJ
Traditional medical treatments are usually aimed at addressing the symptoms of TMJ dysfunction. For short-term relief, medications intended to reduce pain and corrective oral appliances intended to prevent clenching of the jaw (bruxism) are the most commonly prescribed treatments. Surgery, though less common, is also an option, but as with any surgical procedure risks are involved.

On the other hand, multiple studies have shown chiropractic adjustments to be an incredibly safe and effective method of treatment for the condition. In a 2003 study published in JMPT, 15 participants suffering from TMJ dysfunction were treated using chiropractic care. 100% of the participants showed improvement in the distance they could open their jaws and their degrees of pain. Further studies have continued to support chiropractic’s effectiveness in treating TMJ problems. In a survey of 192 HMO members with TMJ dysfunction, nearly two-thirds reported using some form of complementary medicine in conjunction with traditional treatments, and the greatest satisfaction was reported by those using hands-on therapies such as chiropractic.

Chiropractic Treatment For TMJ Dysfunction
While the specific methods of treatment used by a chiropractor to treat a TMJ dysfunction will depend on the patient, treatment usually involves gentle hands-on manipulation of the mandible and articular disc back to their normal position. This often provides short-term relief, but as chiropractors we’re interested in correcting not just the symptoms but also the cause of the problem. Because misalignment of the vertebra in the neck can cause an imbalance in the muscles controlling the action of the TMJ joint, treatment plans will often include adjustments to the cervical spine as well if indicated. Additionally, a chiropractor may recommend stress reduction and relaxation techniques, TMJ-specific exercises or modification of chewing habits to help prevent re-injury of the TMJ in the future.

Of course, in some cases, TMJ disorders may not respond to a conservative chiropractic approach and may require more aggressive dental or surgical treatment. However, this should be a last resort to be considered only after chiropractic care fails to improve the condition.

Are you suffering from TMJ syndrome in Milwaukee? At Wellness Way Chiropractic we use a gentle, non-thrusting adjusting technique to correct the joint misalignments that are often the source of TMJ problems. To make an appointment today, call us at 414-367-6050 or use our online scheduling app.

Sources:
Devocht JW, et al. Chiropractic treatment of temporomandibular disorders using the activator adjusting instrument: a prospective case series. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2003 Sep; 26(7):421-5.
Chiropractic approaches to temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD). J Am Chiropr Assoc April 2001;38(4): 8-17.

About the author

Linsay Way

Dr. Linsay Way is a chiropractor in Milwaukee, WI. Recognized for her expertise in treating and training athletes in the Milwaukee, West Allis, Greenfield, Waukesha and New Berlin areas, Dr. Way's family practice is open to patients of all ages and conditions. Dr. Linsay loves helping her patients develop healthy habits through a lifestyle that embraces good nutrition, proper exercise and good spinal care.

23 Responses to What Causes TMJ Dysfunction & How Can Chiropractic Help?

  1. Pingback: Wellness Way Chiropractic Can Chiropractic Help Fibromyalgia?

  2. Miranda

    Interesting that the two would be related, although I suppose it makes perfect sense. I think it’s important that holistic approach is taken to any illness, so it’s completely reasonable that one would see a chiropractor and a dentist for this issue.

     
  3. Tara

    Thank you so much for this – great post!

     
  4. Minnie Midgett

    Interesting post. Thanks for sharing a bunch of information!

     
  5. Dr. Brad Cole

    I love the way you convey this info and your blog format. It’s obvious your goal is to inspire and inform.

     
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    Thanks for the great post. Keep it up.

     
  7. Parkview

    This was a great share… thanks!

     
  8. JM Wellness

    very interesting , good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.

     
  9. Lydia

    Another cause is grinding of your teeth AKA gnashing the teeth, usually occurs at night when you don’t know you are doing it. Your dentist can tell though because the action wears down your molars and your TMJ will pop when you open your mouth for him/her.

     
  10. Mary

    Thanks so much for this interesting post…

     
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  13. Ali Atif

    That’s really great article. I will try these technique with my little sweet baby.

    Thanks

     
  14. Alex Troy

    Amazing article, thank you so much!
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  16. Mary R. Collins

    Great post! I found it very useful. Love the final result. The information in this blog is extremely useful for me.
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  17. Howtogt

    A lot of useful information. Thank you very much!
    Howtogt recently posted…How to get rid of swollen gums – 9 Tips

     
  18. Stephen Nozaki

    Much of TMJ problems can be prevented by proper jaw mobilization techniques. Active or passive. In most cases chiropractic care seems to help most patients. Great article.
    Stephen Nozaki recently posted…Image Dental Is Now Allowing New and Returning Clients To Book Their Appointments Online

     
  19. Bryan Milwood

    Wow you just added a lot of value to my life,Thank you. Nice article

     
  20. Rob Gold

    Great find on TMJ. I’m a TMJ sufferer and constantly do jaw massages to help relax the jaw. Hate the popping sound! It has gotten alot better!
    Rob Gold recently posted…Root Canals – The 411

     
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  23. Implant in Dubai

    Hi Dr. Linsay,

    Here are my suggestions for Treatment of TMJ

    Provide heat compressions with a warm cloth on both sides of the jaw where there is joint.
    Have a muscle relaxant drug called flexion but please consult a doctor before taking this drug.
    Do exercises
    Eat liquid food
    Do not put pressure on your jaw and do not sleep on any side.
    Repeat these steps for at least 15 days to see the difference.

    Thanks.

     

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