What is TMJD?
The temporomandibular joint (aka TMJ) is located in front of your ear; it’s the joint that connects the jaw bone (mandible) to your skull (temporal bone). This joint allows for your mouth to open and close. Disorders of this joint are quite common; they can be very painful and even totally debilitating. Women develop disorders of the TMJ more frequently than men. Conditions of the TMJ often result in pain, tenderness, reduced ability to open and close the jaw, facial pain, headache, and difficulty chewing. If the cause of your TMJ disorder is as a result of overly tight muscles in the face, neck and head and joint dysfunction, chiropractic adjustments and myofascial therapy and the hands-on approach used at Lehigh Valley Chiropractic may be a great option for treating your TMJ discomfort and getting rid of that TMJ pain once and for all!
Our unique treatment approach to TMJD–temporomandibular joint dysfunction (a combination of chiropractic adjustments, myofasical release, specific therapeutic exercises and home care) may be the answer you’ve been looking for. It’s time for you to chat and chew without pain.
Patients will often complain of occasional clicking or popping of the TMJ; if you are experiencing this (but not suffering from any pain or restriction of movement), you most likely don’t need to seek treatment. Although annoying, these noises are benign. If you are experiencing popping and pain, this is often indicative of a disorder of the TMJ (specifically a derangement of the disc found inside the joint). There are many causes and types of TMJ disorders. Any of the structures in or around the joint (discs, joint capsules, synovial fluid muscles) may become irritated or inflamed causing TMJD. It is important to determine the cause of the disorder in order to effectively treat it.
How is TMJD Diagnosed?
TMJD is generally diagnosed by detailed history and physical exam. Your chiropractor will ask you questions like what makes it worse, what makes it better, how/when it began, and what it feels like. Next, an exam will be performed; your chiropractor will feel the joint and its surrounding muscles. He/she will then assess the joint’s motion and may listen to the TMJ with a stethoscope. Although imaging is not always needed to diagnose TMJD, in certain cases, x-ray, MRI, or CT scan may be ordered.
What Are the Options for Treating TMJD?
TMJD is commonly evaluated and successfully treated at Lehigh Valley Chiropractic. That being said, success depends on the cause. Once you have been evaluated, your chiropractor will be able to determine whether a course of chiropractic care is warranted. Certain cases require a referral to a dentist, orthodontist or oral surgeon and may not respond to conservative management by a chiropractor; if this is the case, the appropriate referral will be made. Using hands on therapies to treat the TMJ and surrounding muscles, biofeedback to retrain overused muscles, and lifestyle counseling to enable you to care for your condition at home, our program will enable you to chat and chew without pain. At their release from care, many patients are overjoyed by the relief they experience with conservative treatment.
- Use of complementary and alternative medicine for temporomandibular disorders. DeBar LL, Vuckovic N, Schneider J, Ritenbaugh C. J Orofac Pain. 2003 Summer;17(3):224-36.
- The effects of manual therapy and exercise directed at the cervical spine on pain and pressure pain sensitivity in patients with myofascial temporomandibular disorders. La Touche R, Fernández-de-las-Peñas C, Fernández-Carnero J, Escalante K, Angulo-Díaz-Parreño S, Paris-Alemany A, Cleland JA. J Oral Rehabil. 2009 Sep;36(9):644-52.