The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is used upwards of 2,000 times a day, enabling you to talk, breathe, chew, laugh… making it one of the most used joints in the body. This small joint is the hinge point at which the jaw connects to the skull, directly in front of the ear. With stats like this, it’s no surprise that this delicate joint can become imbalanced, over used and injured. The most common causes for the dysfunction of the TMJ are teeth grinding, nail biting, motor vehicle accidents, dental work, whiplash, stress and direct trauma.
Many of these injuries to the TMJ create muscle imbalances in the joint, making the jaw move, or track, improperly. These dysfunctions can present as pain in the ear, neck, jaw and teeth, as well as manifesting in headaches, decreased range of motion in the neck and jaw, and constant pulling/tightness in the joint. When the problem is happening with the mouth, what options of treatment are considered? Dentists certainly have methods for handling these issues with bite plates, mouth guards, Botox injections, and others. But, consider a TMJ issue as a likely JOINT and MUSCLE imbalance… then, who do you turn to?
A chiropractor will assess the positioning and shared muscle attachments of the head and neck in relation to the jaw, then evaluate the cause of the dysfunction and work to repair the tracking. A massage therapist can perform intraoral massage, releasing the muscles inside the mouth, as well as working the outer tissues of the jaw, neck and head, to allow the jaw to return to the proper position. Acupuncture has also been shown to be beneficial in calming the structures and helping the TMJ return to balance.
Contact us to learn more about how the providers at Clock Tower Chiropractic and Massage can help relieve your TMJ problems.
Clock Tower Chiropractic and Massage