Can a Chiropractor Help with TMJ?

can a chiropractor help with tmj

Everyone associates chiropractors with medical professionals who rid your body of chronic ailments such as headaches, neck and back pain. However, the lesser-known side of this complex practice is the treatment of the joints in your jaw called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

Can a chiropractor help with TMJ? Yes, yes, they can. One of the ailments that a chiropractor has trained to treat for their patients is TMJ chiropractic and temporomandibular joint disorders.

How Can a Chiropractor Help with TMJ?

A chiropractor will determine which side of your jaw’s joint is opening the least, which will identify the side that will need attention. They will adjust the stuck side with a light push and then follow up on the other side. After this process, they will conduct a reassessment. If all goes according to plan, you can walk away with a re-aligned jaw. If your jaw is super tight, a chiropractor may recommend dry needling with regular TMJ treatment to help further ease discomfort.

When you visit our team at Sunrise Chiropractic for jaw pain treatment, we will focus on the three key muscles: the temporalis, the pterygoid, and the masseter. We also will focus on the jaw joint itself, the top two vertebrae, and the suboccipital muscles. These are significant factors that affect the jaw joint. A good chiropractor for TMI understands that everything involved, all of the moving parts, need proper alignment. These are also reasons why you should see a chiropractor instead of a physical therapist. 

Citrus Heights chiropractors emphasize the importance of soft tissue techniques to heal the temporalis and the masseter. If you’re looking for temporary relief at home, there are a couple of methods you can try:

Masseter Technique

The upper jaw area is where a deep, thick muscle lives – your masseter. This part of your anatomy plays a significant role in how you chew. Have you ever felt the movement under your skin when you place your hand on the side of your face and close and open your mouth? That’s your masseter doing its thing.

Take two fingers and place them flat against your cheeks at your jaw on either side of your head. Then, apply some pressure by pressing in (again, with fingers flat) and then press upward. This movement will allow your masseter to feel the pressure. With pressure applied, open and close your jaw. From here, you can move your fingers up to the next portion of the masseter and continue this motion three times.

If you’re experiencing jaw pain, performing three repetitions of this massage on yourself three times a day can help. But if the pain is too excruciating, call our team at Sunrise Chiropractic right away.

Temporalis Technique

Your temporalis is a clam-shaped, thinner muscle. You have one on each side of your head. As with the masseter, the temporalis plays a crucial role in chewing. Indeed, it covers more ground than the masseter as it goes as far as your temples.

You can apply chiropractic TMJ techniques to your temporalis as well. This time, however, you should adopt the technique for the broader muscle using all four of your finger pads. Apply the same pressure and movement. However, note that your temporalis won’t need as much pressure due to its thinness in comparison to the masseter.

Again, we recommend three repetitions three times a day to help ease TMJ jaw pain or calling a TMJ chiropractor for help.

What Is TMJ?

Your TM joint is your jaw joint, and you have one on each side of your head. Its purpose is to connect your mandible, or lower jawbone, to the skull’s temporal bones.

TMJ issues enable the motion of these muscles and joints. When you open your mouth, both sides of your jaw utilize the upper, rounded ends of your mandible to glide. They move across the joint socket located at the base of your skull. When you close your mouth, everything goes back to its first position. This movement is when a person may have the painful experience of popping their jaw.

TMJ is a blanket term that encapsulates chronic or acute inflammation of the joint connecting your skull to your mandible. This term includes TMD or temporomandibular disorder. Trained TMJ chiropractors can address a wide range of issues that affect jaw muscles, facial nerves, and TM joints.

What Are TMJ Symptoms?

The exact symptoms of TMJ vary for each person. So how can you tell if you are suffering from TMJ? There are a few common symptoms and signs you may experience:

  • Neck pain
  • Facial pain or aches
  • Headaches
  • Pain in one or both of the TM joints
  • Tenderness or pain in the jaw
  • Clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing or talking
  • Dizziness (in some cases)
  • Lockjaw or dislocated jaw so that you can’t close your mouth

This disorder may cause a grating sensation and clicking sounds when you try to chew or open your mouth. These changes to your everyday motions can be irritating. However, if you’re not experiencing any pain or limitation with your jaw clicking, you probably do not need chiropractic TMJ treatment.

Known Causes of TMJ

Many people suffer from TMJ. Unfortunately, the precise cause of someone’s TMJ disorder is often quite tricky to determine. Known causes include:

  • Nail-biting
  • Injury or trauma to the jaw
  • Teeth grinding (while asleep or while awake)
  • Degenerative diseases of the joints, such as arthritis
  • Genetics

Chiropractic TMJ Practice

Are you in the Sacramento area and suffering from pain as a result of any of these causes? Sunrise Chiropractic is located in Citrus Heights, CA, and can assess your jaw to determine the best chiropractic TMJ adjustment for you.

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