St. Louis TMJ Chiropractor

Jaw pain from TMJ dysfunction can cause long standing discomfort and frustration. Combining alignments, myofascial release and specific rehabilitation techniques can help.

TMJ Treatment

Chiropractor for TMJ Treatment in Kirkwood, MO

The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is a joint that connects the jaw to the skull. It's located almost directly in front of the ear canal. When pain, tightness, or clicking is present within the TMJ joint, it is referred to as TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder).

Some people experience this pain continuously for many years, while others may only have a brief encounter. TMJD's other common features can include neck pain, headaches, earaches, difficulty opening the mouth fully, having a hard time chewing, and a jaw that gets stuck.

Can a chiropractor help with TMJ?

Chiropractors who specialize in treating TMJ disorders can provide several therapies to help treat TMJ. A comprehensive approach combining several therapies such as myofascial release, corrective exercises, and physical therapy is best. Acupuncture can also be helpful for pain relief and relaxation.

When considering a chiropractor for treating TMJ, it's essential for look for someone that thoroughly understands jaw mechanics. The temporomandibular joint responds best to a gentle approach and aggressive manipulations of the jaw are not recommended.

How is TMJ disorder diagnosed?

A thorough history is helpful to rule out other conditions such as dental or inner ear problems. Next, an exam with a top tier chiropractor that specializes in TMJ treatment helps identify issues within the joint. An assessment typically includes evaluating the jaw range of motion, degree of clicking, amount of muscular tension in the jaw and neck, head posture, and neck alignment.

Chiropractic treatments for TMJ

TMJ disorder treatments will vary depending on the degree of pain and exam findings. Acute inflammatory pain is usually relieved with ice and anti-inflammatory medications. However, TMJ pain lasting longer than two weeks warrants an appointment with a TMJ specialist.

Because the TMJ is a joint, it is treated similarly to other muscular-skeletal structures in the body. For example, myofascial release, stretch therapy, mobilizations, and physical therapy help treat the TMJ.

Myofascial release for TMJ can reduce muscle pain and tension while promoting an overall healing response. Stretching nearby tight muscles can help with relaxation and improve jaw opening. Rehabilitation will help strengthen the coordination of intricate muscles needed for proper jaw mechanics.

Chiropractors specializing in TMJ treatments can also perform specific mobilization techniques for the jaw. These mobilizations are gentle and rhythmic, which slowly increase jaw opening. There are also precise muscles that can be massaged using a glove within the mouth. Combining all of these techniques helps increase the likelihood of success.

Does TMJ cause headaches?

Headaches, particularly tension headaches, are a common symptom associated with TMJ disorders. These headaches are often a result of muscle tension or strain in the muscles around the jaw joint and can be felt in the temples, back of the head, or even the forehead. In some cases, people with TMJ disorders may also experience migraines. However, it's important to note that headaches can have many causes, and not all headaches in people with TMJ disorders are directly caused by TMJ issues. It's always best to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Can TMJ cause dizziness?

TMJ disorders can cause dizziness, though it's a less common symptom compared to jaw pain or headaches. Because the temporomandibular joint is so close to the inner ear, pain here can result in balance disturbances and dizziness. Muscle tension around the jaw and neck from TMJ can also contribute to feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness. However, as dizziness can have various causes, it's important to consult with your chiropractor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Neck alignments that help TMJ and jaw pain

The neck and jaw are biomechanically connected, making neck posture and alignments a necessary component for treatment. Chiropractors specializing in TMJ can provide spinal adjustments that help restore proper neck alignment and movements. After neck posture is improved, corrective rehabilitation exercises can strengthen the muscles necessary to maintain good posture.

Chiropractic help for jaw pain

Our chiropractors at O'Guin Wellness can help alleviate jaw pain, often associated with conditions like temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), by using specialized techniques to adjust and align the jaw. These adjustments can reduce tension and improve the range of motion in the jaw, leading to decreased pain and discomfort. They may also employ soft tissue therapies, which focus on the muscles and ligaments around the jaw, to further relieve pain and improve function. Additionally, chiropractors often provide patients with exercises and lifestyle advice to help maintain jaw health and prevent future issues.

Can you have TMJ without jaw pain?

It is possible to have a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) without experiencing jaw pain. Other common symptoms of TMJ include clicking or popping when opening or closing the mouth, discomfort with chewing, stiffness around the jaw, and headaches. TMJ disorders can manifest with a variety of symptoms, and pain is just one of them.

What causes TMJ?

Opening the jaw too wide or biting down on something too hard will sometimes bring on TMJD symptoms. In other instances, inflammation or disc displacement will occur without any known cause or explanation.

What causes the TMJ to click?

There is a cartilage disc within the TMJ that acts as a cushion between the bones of the jaw. When the cartilage disc is pulled forward, it dislocates, causing the jaw to click. Sometimes jaw clicking can be reduced or eliminated with corrective therapies and rehabilitation.

Can stress cause TMJ?

Stress, anxiety, and depression do not cause TMJ; however, stress can exacerbate symptoms. When the body is under chronic stress, associated muscle tension complicates TMJ disorder. For example, stress and anxiety create neck and jaw tightness and amplify pain pathways in the nervous system. A final component of stress is bruxism (teeth grinding) which aggravates the TMJ by putting increased pressure on the joint.

Are there other therapies for TMJ disorder?

You've already seen that stress contributes, which means that stress management techniques are helpful. Examples of stress management are breathing techniques, exercise, yoga, journaling, or any activities that you find enjoyable and relaxing.

Avoiding gum chewing, nail-biting, and eating hard or chewy foods are helpful strategies. These activities cause unnecessary pressures on the joint and should be avoided while the TMJ is recovering.

In some instances, a custom-made guard from a dentist can help with jaw alignment or reduce bruxism forces on the TMJ.

Getting assistance from a TMJ specialist can help you discover personalized stretches and exercises to reduce symptoms and speed up healing.

How long does TMJ take to get better?

Does TMJ go away?

Some acute bouts of TMJ can self-resolve within two weeks. If you're experiencing pain longer than two weeks, you should seek a TMJ specialist to assist. Results with treatment for TMJ vary depending on the cause and severity. However, many patients will notice improvement within 4-6 treatment sessions.

In more complicated cases, success will depend on how active the patient is with self-corrective stretches and exercises. These more complex TMJ cases can resolve over several months with a better understanding of corrective therapy.

Top-rated TMJ specialist in St. Louis

Dr. O’Guin and his chiropractors have been successfully treating temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD) for over 15 years. Their approach involves blending myofascial release, stretching, spinal adjustments, and physical therapy exercises. You’ll also receive specialized stretches and rehabilitation exercises to help with your TMJ pain relief and recovery.

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