The temporomandibular joint (more known as TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. When there is an issue with the TMJ, symptoms include: pain while chewing; pain in the ear, face, jaw and neck; clicking, grating, or popping sounds in the jaw when you open or close your mouth; locking of the jaw joint and headaches. Sometimes, the pain is so intense that it is difficult to eat certain foods or enjoy daily activities.
What Causes TMJ Disorders?
The exact cause of a TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, jaw injury, infections, or degenerative joint and/or autoimmune diseases. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth, although many people habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders.
How Many People Have TMJ Disorders?
While we don’t know for certain how many people have TMJ disorders, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates 12 percent of Americans are impacted. The condition appears to be more common in women than men, and women using either supplemental estrogen or oral contraceptives are more likely to seek treatment for these conditions.
Non-Invasive TMJ Treatments
The most effective way to treat TMJ disorders is with professional treatment. Your physician or dentist may decide on a surgical treatment plan in rare cases, but a far less invasive course of chiropractic care has been proven to treat the issue.
An experienced chiropractor will focus on three key muscles: the masseter, the temporalis and the pterygoid. She will also treat the suboccipital muscles, the jaw joint itself and the top two vertebrae to make sure everything is aligned properly. In addition, your chiropractor can prescribe exercises to strengthen and relax the jaw muscles, increase jaw mobility, reduce jaw clicking and promote healing.
Dr. Kimberly Muhlenkamp-Wermert and the team at Live Well Chiropractic Center are experienced in treating TMJ disorders to help you get and stay pain-free. To schedule an appointment, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 513-285-7682. Be sure to check us out on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for our latest updates and tips!