Gently place your hands on your face in front of your ear lobes. Now open and close your mouth. You can undoubtedly feel your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) moving as you open and close your mouth; the joint connects your upper and lower jaws.
Many Americans experience some sort of temporomandibular-related pain or even a temporomandibular disorder (TMD). The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) estimates that 10 million Americans have a TMD, which is often referred to by non-medical professionals as “I have TMJ” or “I have a TMJ problem.” About 2/3 of Americans may experience one or more symptoms of a TMD/TMJ problem. Dr. Groover of Boulder’s premier chiropractic clinic is here to explain how chiropractic care is a practical treatment option for this common yet painful and lingering condition.
Dr. Groover’s sequential approach to TMD is diagnosing and treating the joint mechanical problems causing the neurological problems which result in muscular problems.
Dr. Groover’s comprehensive chiropractic care for your TMJ eases pain by correcting directly your TMJ misalignments, but doing so after some careful preparation. Your chewing muscles receive their nerve supply from what’s called the trigeminal nerve. This is a cranial nerve originating at the base of your head, which is sensitive to misalignment at the upper cervical region where your head joins your neck. Diagnosis and treatment of this misalignment comes first. The alignment and stability of your pelvis, low back, upper back, ribs and lower neck comes next, followed by your shoulders. Ideally every joint in your body should be aligned and stable to remove all causes and complications for TMJ dysfunction.
After joint correction and stabilization, jaw dysfunction related trigger points are best treated with neuromuscular acupuncture followed by administering muscle compression and muscle stretching.
Dr. Groover explains misalignment of the jaw that results from improper posture or a back problem can cause your TMJ disorder. Misalignment of your upper cervical spine causes high and low hips, shifting of your pelvis and upper back away from your center of gravity, poor weight balance between your right and left standing body weight and unequal leg lengths. Upper cervical correction eliminates these postural distortions.
An approach to treating TMJ caused by misalignment in your neck and upper back is to perform adjustments on your spinal joints in these areas. In addition, trigger point therapy is used to relieve tight muscles in the back around your spine. This reduces the amount of stress put on your jaw so other treatments to adjust the jaw will be more effective. When these treatments are employed, the motion of your jaw joint improves and symptoms like ear pain, jaw locking, headaches and neck pain are reduced, the doctor continued.
Dr. Groover recommends that patients suffering from TMJ problems should avoid the following:
- Clenching your jaw(s) – this is the worst thing you can do when you have a TMJ problem
- Chewing gum – puts added stress on both jaw bones and all jaw muscles
- Cradling the telephone – irritates neck muscles and jaw muscles
- Anesthesia – can affect mouth opening processes and damage joints
- Long dental appointments, i.e., those requiring an open mouth for more than 30 minutes
If you’d like to be seen for a comprehensive TMJ consultation, please review Dr. Groover’s Boulder chiropractic clinic online or give us a call at (303) 442-7772. We’re happy to assist and offer x-rays and more to make the process easier and more seamless for you.
IMAGE CREDIT: Still Shot from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_mqNopzTNA