The jaw joint is one of the most frequently used in the body. The muscles surrounding it allow us to chew, speak, yawn, and swallow.
Over 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorder. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD or TMJ disorder) describes a conditions in which there is pain or noise in the chewing muscles or temporomandibular joints (TMJ) and limited mandibular function. It can be on one side of the jaw, both, or move from side to side. Women are more likely to have issues with these joints than men, and the average age on onset is between 18 and 26.
There is an articular disk that separates the condyle head of the mandible and the skull. When it is misplaced, it causes TMD.
TMD can be deceiving! The objective and subjective findings of TMD do not always match up. Studies show that older people who exhibit objective symptoms of TMD do not complain of pain and younger people who do not have any objective signs of TMD complain of severe pain.
TMD can be caused by degenerative joint disease such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis within the jaw. It can also be caused by a dislocated jaw or jaw injury. A car crash can force the bone out of position; whilplash is a very common cause of TMD. TMJ disorders can also be caused from missing or misaligned teeth that force the bone out of its proper position.
Stress plays a role in the development of TMD, because it often leads to clenching of the jaw or bruxism, commonly known as teeth grinding. This can overstrain muscles of the jaw and can flow to pain in the head, neck, and face.
The most common form of TMD is discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function and the neck muscles. Other symptoms associated with TMD include headaches, facial pain, tinnitus, popping of the jaw, locking of the jaw, and limited range of motion in the joint. There may be noises such as clicking, grinding or crunching when you open and close the mouth.
Relaxation and stress management along with chiropractic adjustments can help! Diet modification may also be necessary. The National Institute of Health advises sufferers of TMD to avoid surgery if possible because the risks outweigh the benefits. In fact, inserting artificial implants into the TMJ may cause permanent jaw damage and severe pain.
Chiropractic has helped many with TMD without the use of medication or surgery. Of course each case can be different and the only way to see if chiropractic can benefit is to undergo an appropriate evaluation.
Dr. Sara Hillesheim is a chiropractor at Relief Plus Chiropractic in Minnetonka MN. Our office is near Wayzata, Hopkins, and Shorewood at the intersection of County Road 101 and Minnetonka Blvd. At Relief Plus Chiropractic we are here to serve the community by providing the highest level of chiropractic care. Click Here for your Free Consultation.