26 Jun Is your Jaw contributing to your headaches?
What is the Temporomandibular Joint?
The TMJ is the hinge joint which connects the mandible to the skull. It is made up of the temporal bone and the condyle with a fibrous disk lining the joint surrounded by a joint capsule. In conjunction with many supporting muscles and joints it allows you to chew, yawn and talk. With the responsibility of moving your jaw forwards, backwards and side to side thousands of times a day it is no surprise that if there is underlying dysfunction it can cause mayhem.
What are some symptoms of Temporomandibular disorder (TMD)?
TMD is collective term encompassing many clinical problems that relate to the TMJ and surrounding structures that help it function. You may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Feeling like your jaw is “locked”
- Pain or tenderness in one or both sides of your jaw
- Ringing or discomfort in one or both of your ears
- Difficulty or pain with chewing
- An ache in your face or either side of your head or ears
You may also notice a clicking/pops or grinding within your jaw as you open and close your mouth.
- On opening can indicate a reduced disc displacement, which can be accompanied by a jaw deviation to the left or the right. Below is an image to show the different possible stages of displacement.
- Is usually present with chronic degenerative conditions within the joint such as arthritis.
Why am I getting some of these Symptoms?
There may be many reasons why you are getting Jaw pain. Although the trigger of TMD is unclear, what you do subconsciously throughout the day and night may be playing a role. They can include:
- Clenching your jaw due to stressful stimulus for long periods of time
Warning: Can occur whilst watching JAWS!
- Long-term (chronic) grinding of your teeth throughout the night (Bruxism)
- Poor ergonomics at work creating poor posture through your cervical and thoracic spine
- Jaw trauma
How Can Chiropractic help?
If we suspect that you are suffering from TMD, we aim to decrease pain and restore function to the joint. Due to using your jaw extensively day to day dysfunction can affect many facets of your daily life. Therefore, we aim to do the following:
- The cause of discomfort may be due to factors that are within your control. Changes in lifestyle and oral factors can create drastic changes in dysfunction.
Provide Manual Therapy
- Manual therapy is often focused on the joint and surrounding structures. We aim to mobilize the joint with low force adjusting techniques, release surrounding musculature with various soft tissue techniques and provide a structured rehabilitation plan for you to do at home.
- This can help to decrease inflammation, restore joint mobility and eliminate muscular pain.