The general thought that people have about chiropractic care is that it has to do with the correction of any minor problem that has to do with areas like neck, spine, back and other joints in the body, little do they know that it goes beyond that. What chiropractic care does in the management of TMJ dysfunction is way beyond the general understanding that we have about it. Perhaps the jaw was even the last place you expected to see a chiropractor work on.
Although this might sound a bit awkward and you get to wonder if it is really possible but the fact is chiropractic can be used to reduce the pain that people are enduring on a daily basis. This pain is felt in the temporomandibular joint of the mouth. This case is a common one, it is also not new to the medical industry. However, the advent of chiropractic care has been a major breakthrough.
A recent study also reveals that proper use of chiropractic care to manage temporomandibular joint pain is a new conservative way to treat temporomandibular dysfunction which happens to be a bigger catch.
WHAT IS THIS TMJ DYSFUNCTION?
First of all, we need to understand what TMJ is about. TMJ is a region in the mouth that connects two main bone involve in chewing and biting. These two bones are the lower jaw and the skull, the region of articulation is around the front of the ear. Just like I said, this articulation Plays a major role in eating and chewing control. This is due to the fact that facial muscles that control chewing are attached to that region.
Want to figure out where your TMJ is located in your mouth? That’s quite easy to do, all you need to do is place one or two of your fingers very close to your ear as you open and close your mouth. As you do this simultaneously, you will feel the change of shape beneath your fingers. That area is exactly where your TMJ is. Any issue or pain that is felt in that region and its surrounding is known as TMJ DYSFUNCTION.
WHAT COULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR TMJ DYSFUNCTION
There are quite a number of things that could be responsible for this dysfunction but there is a common one that is known to be the cause of TMJ dysfunction. The common cause of this dysfunction is the continuous grinding of teeth during sleep and also the clenching of jaws during sleep as well. In turn, this non-stop grinding and clenching overworks the TMJ region. If this process repeats itself continuously for a long period of time, it mounts pressure on this region which in turn leads to TMJ Dysfunction.
This dysfunction brings a lot of pain at first and if adequate care is not taken to either control or manage the pain, it leads to something more worse.
OTHER THINGS THAT CAN CAUSES OF TMJ DYSFUNCTION
Besides the major cause that is mentioned above, there are other things that can cause TMJ Dysfunction. These includes:
- Effect of some certain diseases like fibromyalgia otherwise known as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.
- TMJ dysfunction could also be hereditary.
- This could also be caused by extreme trauma to any part of the mouth as a result of either dental surgery or even accidental falls that involves the jaw.
- This dysfunction could also be caused by disc dislocation.
- Lastly, ill-fitted dental filled crowns, and dentures can cause uneven bites which in turn causes serious damages.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF TMJ DYSFUNCTION
The symptoms of TMJ dysfunction vary and it all depends on how severe the case is. However, the pain is not always constant. It is known to come and go, but when it comes, the pain is always severe. Below are the common symptoms that a person may be experiencing:
- An individual suffering from TMJ dysfunction may find it very difficult to close and open their mouth without experiencing the pain all over again.
- Persistent headaches when the pain come around again.
- TMJ involves the ear region, thus pain might be felt in this area.
- A patient will find it very difficult to chew food, most especially hard food.
- Pain will be experienced in the jaw, face and also the neck
- There will be continuous locking, popping and clicking of the jaw.
A patient might not be experiencing all of this symptoms but it is best to consult a physician if any of this is noticed.
HOW CHIROPRACTIC CAN HELP TREAT TMJ DYSFUNCTION
What chiropractic does to treat TMJ dysfunction is quite simple and straightforward. The first thing that is done is to know the main cause of the dysfunction. Just as it was stated earlier, quite a number of things could be responsible for the dysfunction. Therefore it is important to know the cause to know the direction to take in the treatment of the dysfunction.
However, a chiropractor needs to access the results to know if the dysfunction case in question can be solved by a chiropractic care. If it can, the case proceeds. There are different types of chiropractic methods to use in the treatment of TMJ dysfunction. These include chiropractic adjustments, myofascial release and the active release therapy. The first two is used to relax the muscles around the areas affected and also to soften the tissues in the affected area with the aim of optimizing their functions and return them back to normal. While the last method, active release therapy works to release all the scar tissues in the affected area.
Most times a chiropractor works with a dentist to perform this chiropractic care. It is majorly done this way so as to choose the appropriate method of treatment.
After the chiropractic care has been conducted, the chiropractor will point out some postural habits that should be avoided in order to put an end to the TMJ dysfunction.
Chiropractic care is really people overcome the challenges of TMJ dysfunction. I strongly believe that it can help you as well.