The temporomandibular joint, also known as the TMJ, acts like a sliding hinge that connects the jawbone to the skull. These joints exist on both sides of the mouth and occasionally serve as a source of pain and dysfunction. An estimated 10-15 million people suffer from TMJ disorders. TMJ disorders cause pain in the jaw joint and dysfunction in the muscles that control jaw movement.
The exact cause of TMJ disorder remains difficult to determine. Suspected origins come from a combination of factors such as arthritis, jaw injury, and emotional and/or mechanical stress.
Some cases of pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders prove temporary and experience relief through self-managed care and non-surgical treatments. Surgery typically presents as a last resort after conservative measures fail. Many people with TMJ disorders still end up facing a prescribed surgery.
Too many people who suffer with a TMJ disorder remain unaware of natural options that provide relief without the use of drugs, surgeries, or other invasive means. That challenge becomes compounded by the fact that most medical providers (including doctors, orthopedists, and dentists) do not understand the powerful benefits Chiropractic care offers to TMJ sufferers.
New research continues to show the immense value of Chiropractic care. Researchers conducted a study in 2019 that consisted of dividing 55 TMJ sufferers into three groups and measured their quality of life, ranked their pain with a numeric rating scale, measured their mouth opening and function capacity, and tested pain pressure thresholds. Group one received a Chiropractic adjustment to the neck along with take home TMJ exercises. Group two received a fake adjustment combined with TMJ home exercises. Group three received patient education only. Each group received six sessions before re-tests were administered.
The group that received real Chiropractic adjustments to the cervical spine (neck) combined with home exercises experienced significant reduction in jaw pain intensity, increased the pressure pain thresholds in the masseter and temporalis muscles, and reported a more pain free maximal mouth opening. These TMJ sufferers described an improved quality of life immediately after the intervention and in the one month follow up. TMJ sufferers deserve to know that research offers a Chiropractic solution.
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders include:
- Pain or tenderness of the jaw
- Pain in one or both the temporomandibular joints
- Aching pain in and around the ear
- Difficulty or painful chewing
- Aching facial pain
- Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
Some TMJ sufferers experience significant life-altering jaw pain to such a degree that some even express difficulty facing their daily lives. Jaw pain often debilitates those caught in the grip of TMJ. Chiropractic care provides a missing link for many TMJ sufferers who desire relief without the use of powerful drugs and surgery. Restoration and a return to normal function awaits those who pursue a life empowered by Chiropractic.