What Causes TMJ Dysfunction & How Can Chiropractic Help?

Linsay Way Chiropractic 46 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.

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.

46 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.


    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…

  11. Drupal Single or Multi user Blog

    Thank you so much for this post

  12. dental holiday packages

    I use this package from this website for cheaper packages

  13. Ali Atif

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


  14. Alex Troy

    Amazing article, thank you so much!
    Alex Troy recently posted…Find A Rhinoplasty Surgeon

  15. Aliyaa

    Good Job! Thank you so much for this post. This post is really helpful. Keep updating.
    Contact Lenses

  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.
    Mary R. Collins recently posted…How to keep a Baby Warm in a Pack and Play

  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

  21. james

    Most human diseases are caused by functional dysregulation/dysfunction of protein interactions, and while this starts from the genetic level or through epigenetic influences, the complex biological processes and information flow within the cell and throughout the organism are driven through protein-protein interactions. Through Molecular medicine the molecular mechanisms/pathology of human diseases have been studied with the aim of providing effective and safe therapeutics, and in defining patients’ disease profile and prognosis. The sequencing of the human genome has created enormous opportunities to characterise diseases by their molecular fingerprint and thus using this genome-wide information to elucidate mechanistic pathways thereby…

  22. Teresa Loginova

    Do you know the right professional to visit when thinking of having braces installed? It’s no other than the orthodontist! There have been a lot of changes with regards to orthodontic services nowadays. The invisible device is just one. People don’t often hear the word orthodontist. In fact, some people use the words ‘dentist’ and ‘orthodontist’ interchangeably.

  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.


  24. ndemi

    Is Chiropractic Treatment the new mode of treatment nowadays?just curious

  25. Justin Ashlock

    Chiropractic is great fro TMJ. We have had great success with TMJ patients with simple chiropractic adjustments of the neck.


  26. share online

    thanks for post it.nice post

  27. Rocky Murasing

    Thanks for these beneficial health tips.

  28. hellenicdentalclinic.com

    Hi Dr. Linsay Way,

    Great article about TMJ Dysfunction. What do they do for Temporomandibular Joint Surgery?

  29. Chormilos

    More than 14,000 persons are eligible to practice law in Oregon.Some of them share the same name or similar names. All discipline reports should be read carefully for names, addresses and bar numbers.Mike Nesheiwat

  30. Anna

    It’s quite inspiring I should admire I was very interested in the article.it. I like visiting your site since I always come across interesting articles like this one.

  31. Jackson Costa

    Hi Dr. Linsay Way, Nice post! Congratulations.
    I´m dentist here in Brazil and i read and enjoy your post.
    Thank you!

  32. govt

    Great post..thanks for the information

  33. mary

    Hi, Good afternoon, Good afternoon, Good luck.
    This is my link.

  34. Josh M.

    This is a great post about TMJ and the treatment of it. I’ve looked at other posts about this, much like this one on mouth guards .

  35. Best WA Rhinoplasty Surgeons

    Great chiropractic work could possibly prevent unneeded procedures like rhinoplasty or breast implants but allowing the body to achieve it’s best self through optimal health. Also, feeling great on the inside can affect the outside!

  36. Surgeons Place

    Great post! TMJ is more common that we suspect and not everyone has the information on how to correct the issue thanks again to this informative information!

  37. Oral Treatment

    Great tips…….. thanks a lot of
    Oral Treatment recently posted…Nasal Polyps – What It Is, Causes and Treatments

  38. cinema box app

    Finally a good post after a long time on the web. i would like to subscribe your mailing list

  39. dentist evansville in

    I was found a good article. Thanks for sharing very informative article.

  40. evansville dentist

    The sequencing of the human genome has created enormous opportunities to characterise diseases by their molecular fingerprint and thus using this genome-wide information to elucidate mechanistic pathways thereby.

  41. Muhanji

    Jeez. It’s been a long time I actually pulled out a piece of printer paper to take notes on a blog post lol. Thanks for this. You’ve earned yourself a new reader!…
    Muhanji recently posted…Top 8 Amazing Toothpaste Beauty Hacks

  42. Raymond White

    Very interesting post. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    New City Family Dental

  43. Health Clups

    Great article post.Thanks for sharing.keep up the good work.

  44. Hospitall

    Great article very helpful information

  45. HospitALL

    Looking great work dear, I really appreciated to you on this quality work. Nice post!!

  46. Dentist Tampa

    Great Post for everyone, It is helping those people who don’t know about TMJ Treatment.


Add a Comment

This blog uses premium CommentLuv. Enable CommentLuv?