What is TMJ?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a pain in the jaw joint that can be caused by a variety of medical problems. The TMJ connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull (temporal bone) in front of the ear. Certain facial muscles that control chewing are also attached to the lower jaw. TMJ can be caused from trauma to head and face, or the nerves in your brain stem or neck. Recent dental work is usually the most common cause of TMJ.
How we can treat TMJ
Chiropractic Care A TMJ assessment can identify if the motion of the jaw is working properly. This motion assessment is completed in one minute and will allow the doctor to identify how to best treat the problem. There is a test called “the Three Finger Test” – if you can put the fingers in without any pain, it should most likely rectify itself. If there is any pain, there could be an issue with the rotation or translation of sliding in the jaw. If it deviates to the right, the rotation component is fine but the sliding rotation is not working properly and therefore, it affects the other side of the jaw.
First, we’ll correct neck subluxations (misalignments). This is a gentle adjustment but necessary to begin aligning the top of the spine. Next we’ll work on the TMJ itself — both sides of the jaw gets adjusted. Finally, we’ll have you consult with our Acupuncturist to see if further help can be provided.
Acupuncture This is also a great help for people suffering from TMJ. It helps alleviate pressure around the face, jaw bone, and neck area. It helps with muscle relaxation and reduce muscle spasms (if muscular in origin). It helps the “clicking” minimize by relaxing the lateral pterygoid muscles, reducing the anterior displacing force of the meniscus of the TMJ.
Massage Therapy By using massage on the muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joint, TMJ patients may be able to lessen pain and ease TMJ symptoms. To date, few studies have looked at massage’s effectiveness in the treatment of TMJ. However, the available research has yielded some positive findings.
In a 2003 report, for instance, researchers surveyed 192 TMJ patients about their use of complementary and alternative medicine in treatment of TMJ. Of all the therapies reported, massage was rated as the most common (as well as one of the most helpful). In a 2007 survey of 126 TMJ patients, meanwhile, participants ranked massage as one of the most effective self-care strategies for both relieving and controlling pain.
Several other small studies have tested massage’s effects on TMJ pain. For example, a 2009 study of 15 patients found that receiving massage on the lateral pterygoid muscle (a muscle involved in opening the jaw) helped soothe pain, reduce joint clicking, and increase mouth-opening.