You most certainly do have TMJ, if fact you have two TMJs! TMJ stands for Temporal Manidular Joint, which you have on each side of your jaw. TMJ is often confused with TMJD which is Temporal Manidular Joint Dysfunction.
Temporal Mandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD) is a condition that involves the Temporal Mandibular Joints (TMJ) and the muscles of mastication (chewing muscles). TMJD can present as pain, clicking, popping and limited jaw motion. Outside of pain in the jaw, TMJD can also lead to headaches, earaches, dizziness, hearing problems and difficulty swallowing. It is estimated that 20%-30% of the population has TMJD which typical shows up between 20-40 years of age and is more common in women.
There are a number of causes of TMJD some of the causes include muscular imbalances, degeneration of the joint, psychosocial problems, teeth grinding or clenching and occlusal factors (problems with the bite).
How can chiropractic treat TMJD
Chiropractic has been shown to be an effective treatment for people who are suffering from TMJD. IN our office we take a multifaceted approach in treating TMJD.
Many people who suffer from TMJD have excess tension in the TMJ and the muscles associated with chewing. We use manual technique to relieve the tension in the muscles and joints. The goal of this therapy is to improve motion and correct muscular imbalances.
Because of the proximity of the TMJ to the cervical spine (neck), we examine the neck and determine if it is also playing a role in the dysfunction. If we determine that the neck is a contributing factor in the TMJD we will use manual therapies along with stretches and exercises to facilitate proper healing.
Often times there is a stress component to TMJD. In order to treat the stress component we would recommend a stress relief strategy like deep breathing, journaling or nutritional therapy. In our office Magnesium is typically recommended because of its role in stress relief and muscle relaxation. Patients are instructed to take Magnesium prior to sleep in order help relax the muscles of the jaw and prevent clenching during sleep. Patients are also taught ways to ensure that they are not clenching throughout the day and instructed on food and activities that should be avoided.