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TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that opens and closes your jaw. TMJ issues are common, and are regularly managed by chiropractors. An estimated 20% of the average population at any given time have symptoms that relate to TMJ. It is most common in people between the ages of 20 and 40 years of age, and occurs more often in women than in men. This condition is linked to other symptoms throughout the neck region, and is a big reason why chiropractors are able to manage it. This joint is consistently being used and is often moved over 2000 times per day.

The TMJ acts as a hinge that allows the mouth to open and close. The joint is controlled by surrounding muscles, such as medial and lateral pterygoids, masseter and temporal muscle.

What causes TMJ dysfunction

Clenching and grinding of teeth during sleep (also known as bruxism)
Trauma to the face and head
Postural stress
Prolonged mouth opening
Habits such as chewing gum
Joint dysfunction
Muscle tone
TMJ dysfunction can lead to things like headaches, neck pain and face pain. It is quite often the case that dysfunction of this joint can refer pain throughout the neck, jaw and skull, rather than only having pain at the joint. Signs that precede the dysfunction include tenderness or a dull ache at the jaw area, clicking sounds upon opening and closing of the mouth and increased pain after repetitive use.

Common signs and symptoms of TMJ dysfunction

Tenderness or a dull ache at the jaw area
Clicking sounds upon opening and closing of the mouth
Increased pain after repetitive use (eating)
Jaw deviates to the involved side
Muscle spasms at the masseter muscle whilst eating

How can our chiropractors help you?

Our chiropractors can help improve pain levels and restore correct function of the TMJ by a number of ways. Your chiropractor can massage the affected muscles, perform resistance exercises and give specific mobilisations and stretches to increase the range of motion. Along with this, your chiropractor may give you postural advice, to limit aggravation of the joint.

Frequently Asked Questions

TMJ is the abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. This joint is located in front of your ear, on each side of your head, and connects your lower jawbone to your skull. The TMJ allows you to move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn.

There are many potential causes of TMJ pain, but the most common cause is stress. When you are under stress, your jaw muscles may tense up and put pressure on the TMJ joint. This can lead to pain in the joint itself as well as in the surrounding muscles. Other potential causes of TMJ pain include teeth grinding, arthritis, misaligned teeth, and jaw injury.

There are many different symptoms that can be associated with TMJ dysfunction. Some of the most common include:

Experiencing jaw pain or pain in the face
Clicking or popping sound when moving the jaw
Difficulty chewing or pain when chewing
Jaw pain or tenderness
Earache or pain in the ear or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Headaches or migraines

Chiropractic care is a potential alternative that can be very effective for TMJ dysfunction. A chiropractor can help to relieve temporomandibular disorder by providing manipulation and adjustments to the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. This can help to reduce muscle tension and pressure on the TMJ, which can in turn help to reduce pain. In addition, a chiropractor can provide advice on how to avoid potential triggers of TMJ pain, such as stress and teeth grinding.

A chiropractor will likely use a combination of techniques to treat your TMJ pain. Your chiropractic treatment may include:

Manual manipulation or adjustment of the jaw joint and surrounding muscles
Trigger point therapy to release muscle knots and tension
Muscle stretching and exercises to improve flexibility and range of motion
Ice or heat therapy to reduce inflammation and pain

There are many potential benefits to seeing a chiropractor for your TMJ pain. These may include:

Reduced pain and inflammation
Improved range of motion in the jaw
Reduced clicking or popping of the jaw
Improved ability to eat and speak normally

Chiropractors can also help treat other conditions, such as:

Headaches and migraines
Neck pain
Back pain
Shoulder pain
Arthritis pain
Nerve pain
Postural issues

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms in addition to your temporomandibular joint pain, it’s time to visit a chiropractor to see how they can help you relieve pain and restore function to your joints.

During your appointment, our chiropractor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. We’ll perform a physical exam to determine the best course of chiropractic treatment to resolve your temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

Book an appointment with one of our Geelong chiropractors for your TMJ dysfunction .