Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, works as a hinge connecting the jawbone to the skull. TMJ disorders result in pain in the jaw joint as well as the muscles that control the jaw. Each individual experiences different severities of pain due to TMJ disorder and it can be difficult to determine the cause of someone’s TMJ. Soreness and pain can be enhanced because of clenching the jaw or grinding teeth. Other common symptoms include pain around the jaw joints, aching pain in and around the ear, and popping or clicking of the jaw. Severe TMJ disorder cases can experience a locking of the joint/ jaw.
TMJ disorders can occur if the jaw joint moves out of alignment, the joint cartilage becomes damaged by arthritis, or is damaged because of an impact. The symptoms brought about by a TMJ disorder are typically temporary and can be relieved with self-managed care. Surgery is an option for severe cases for after all other measures have been exhausted.
Individuals with TMJ disorder should avoid especially chewy and tough foods and may find it beneficial to wear a mouth guard at night to keep their jaw muscles from tensing while sleeping. Chiropractic is a non-invasive treatment option that helps in realigning the jaw joint. Regular adjustments to the jaw help in getting the joint back in the correct position.