Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a general term referring to the inflammation of the joint connecting your jawbone to your skull. It’s a common condition; even dental work that requires the patient to keep the jaw open for some time increases the risk for developing this ailment.
Signs and Symptoms of a TMJ Disorder
You will know if you have TMJ disorder when you find it painful to chew, yawn, or even just open your mouth wide. There are other painful signs, too, that may indicate that you’re suffering from TMD. Some of them include:
- Loud popping noise coming from your jaws that can be heard even by other people
- Pain from your jaw that radiates to your face, neck, or shoulders
- Your jaws locking when you open your mouth wide
- Loud and painful clicks when you open or close your mouth
- Headaches, hearing problems, ear problems, and dizziness
- Difficulty in chewing and swallowing
The bottom line is that if you feel any pain or discomfort in your jaws, consult your doctor so that a diagnosis of TMD can be confirmed or negated.
Causes of a TMJ Disorder
There are many possible causes of a TMJ disorder. Some of the most common ones include teeth grinding (a lot of people do this subconsciously while awake, or while sleeping), trauma to the jaws, overuse through excessive chewing, and even nail biting.
TMD can also be the result of a misalignment of the jaw and teeth, pushing the bone out of its position and causing the pain. Jaw clenching due to stress can also lead to TMD.
Chiropractic Care and Other Treatments of a TMJ Disorder
There are instances when symptoms of TMD can be addressed through lifestyle changes. In many cases, however, medical intervention may be necessary.
For an increasing number of TMD sufferers, chiropractic care rather than traditional medicine has been their first choice. This is because while chiropractors are best known for headaches, neck, and back problems, they are also known to be effective for adjusting bone misalignments, including the jaws.
Chiropractic care is an alternative treatment focusing on the spine and nervous system. It sees misalignment of the spine and other skeletal structures as one of the causes of chronic pain, hence, its treatment of spinal manipulation aims to return the body to its proper alignment to effectively reduce and eliminate pain.
Aside from manual adjustments, however, your chiropractor may also give you deep tissue massage, apply hot compresses or ice in affected areas, and give you relaxation and other exercises to do at home. He may also refer you back to your dentist for co-management.
Whatever treatment methods are used, chiropractic care has shown to be effective on the treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder. If you feel any of the symptoms stated, better consult a chiropractor now for immediate and fast pain relief.