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CAN A CHIROPRACTOR HELP WITH TMJ?
Chiropractic care is among the many treatments available to those who suffer from discomfort caused by temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMJD). Patients with TMJ often find chiropractic treatments effectively address both the pain caused by TMJ symptoms and underlying issues that exacerbate TMJ. Treatments with a TMJ chiropractor are frequently used alongside other nonsurgical pain relief methods, like acupuncture, TMJ exercises, and getting a CustMbite TMJ mouthguard. Read on to learn more about the potential benefits of addressing the causes and symptoms of your TMJ with the help of a TMJ chiropractor.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF TMJ PAIN?
To understand why TMJ discomfort happens, you must first understand the way the joint works. The temporomandibular joint differs from other joints because it must allow for motion on two different planes: up and down and side to side. This requires a complex system of muscles, joints, discs, and ligaments to operate in unison. A healthy TMJ will move smoothly, allowing for pain-free speaking, yawning, and chewing. But if any of the temporomandibular joint’s components are damaged or misaligned, you may experience a group of symptoms caused by TMJD.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF TMJ?
Though many people think that TMJ affects only the mouth and jaw, in actuality, the entire upper body can be affected. The symptoms range from mild headaches to hearing problems and neck discomfort. There are some signs that your pain might be associated with TMJ, such as:
- Your jaw clicks or pops when you open your mouth
- Your bite doesn’t feel natural or your teeth don’t fit together well
- You sit or stand upright with your head in front of your shoulders
- You snore
Though many of TMJ’s symptoms have causes other than TMJ, these signs may help to guide your chiropractor’s treatment plan. The jaw is the only joint with something in between its moving parts - your teeth. Your temporomandibular joint is designed so that your teeth fit together seamlessly, so a bite that feels “off” can indicate a misalignment. Your jaw should operate smoothly, with no clicking or popping.
Before you decide to sign on for surgery, you should know that many patients suffering from TMJ find that working with a chiropractor helps to alleviate their TMJ pain. Misalignment can play a large role in exacerbating the symptoms of TMJ as well. Because the head should be centered over the shoulders, the weight of the head can strain the neck muscles and pull the vertebrae out of alignment - one of a TMJ chiropractor’s specialties.
WHAT DOES A TMJ CHIROPRACTOR DO?
Chiropractors focus on neuromuscular disorders. Along with immediate pain relief, chiropractic care can also address any underlying alignment and posture issues that aggravate TMJ. They use manual manipulation techniques to alleviate spinal tension and align the spine properly. When this tension is released, there is a corresponding decrease in pressure on the relevant nerves.
Studies show that 4 out of 5 patients who suffer from TMJ discomfort report significant relief after receiving chiropractic treatments. If it’s appropriate, many TMJ chiropractors will incorporate TMJ massage and exercises into a treatment plan. Many patients do require regular visits to a TMJ chiropractor to manage their pain effectively, so you’ll want to do everything you can to get the most out of your care.
MAXIMIZING THE EFFECTS OF A TMJ CHIROPRACTOR
The effects of TMJ can be significant, so if you're experiencing symptoms, it’s smart to address them sooner rather than later. Proactive measures like practicing TMJ exercises and wearing a TMJ mouthguard from CustMbite can support the care you’re receiving from a TMJ chiropractor. Mouthguards can help to reduce tension in the jaw, aiding in smoother chiropractic adjustments. TMJ exercises can also have a positive effect on overall joint health, boosting the jaw’s strength, mobility, and flexibility.
If you choose to wear a mouthguard, it’s important to do it consistently. CustMbite mouthguards are easy to incorporate into your daily routine - just pop it in before you go to bed. When you wake up refreshed and relaxed, just toss your TMJ mouthguard into the dishwasher or scrub it off with a toothbrush and cold water. Our mouthguards for TMJ are also thin and flexible, so you can speak, drink, and breathe with ease and wear them comfortably throughout the night.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO ADDRESS MY TMJ?
Today, there are many different options when it comes to reducing the painful effects of TMJ. Fortunately, the majority of patients who suffer from TMJ never need surgery. A recent study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine showed an 80 percent reduction in pain for patients receiving chiropractic treatment for their temporomandibular joint disorder. Along with treatments from a TMJ chiropractor, try incorporating additional at-home methods to reduce the discomfort of TMJ and get a custom-fit TMJ mouthguard from CustMbite.