TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is the joint that connects your jaws to your skull. Temporomandibular joint disorder, otherwise known as TMJD, is a disorder of the joint that may create discomfort and pain not only in the joint itself, but the pain may also be sensed around the ear, in the neck area and in the head, often resulting in headaches.
Many of our patients come into our affordable chiropractic clinic, unaware that their symptoms are caused by their TMJD. They often express that their pain is in their neck, around their ear, and up into their head. In addition, many of them describe a sensation of clinching and grinding their teeth, and a feeling of tightness around their jaw. After a thorough exam, we are able to link their symptoms to TMJD.
There is no direct causality of why TMJD occurs, however in most cases it is contributed by tension in the temporal musculature, otherwise known as the temporalis and the masseter muscle, which are the chewing muscles located in your cheek. This tension, that develops, often in forms of trigger points within the muscle fibers, restricts the muscles and joint from their proper function, making the joint problematic and symptomatic.
What can you do to help reduce your TMJD symptoms?
TMJD can be considered a biopsychosocial matter. At our Indianapolis chiropractic clinic, we begin by encouraging and educating our patients on the importance of eliminating external factors and stressors, whether emotional or environmental; many are able to do so through meditation, breathing exercises, and journaling.
In addition, maintaining proper mouth posture will help eliminate undue stress on affected muscles. A proper mouth posture is maintained by keeping lips sealed, teeth slightly separated, with your tongue resting just behind your upper teeth. It is important to be aware of your body posture, as well, when driving, eating, and sitting at a desk. We also recommend refraining from chewing gum, and when possible, chew your food equally on both sides. We do encourage our patients to consult with their dentist, to make sure there is no dental work that needs to be addressed.
An integrated approach to address the TMJD is the most appropriate treatment plan. At our Indianapolis chiropractic clinic, we address these symptoms and disorder by administering different soft tissue therapies, and when necessary, we incorporate acupuncture and dry needling into the treatment plan. This approach diffuses the trigger points and the tension that has formed along the jaws and the temporal areas, which will also help reduce anxiety and tension.
If you are suffering from tension in your jaw or neck, are suffering from frequent headaches, or have found yourself clinching and grinding your teeth, call our affordable chiropractic clinic, today at 317.449.2020 to see how we can help.
About Integrated Health Solutions
Dr. Charbel Harb is a licensed chiropractic physician and the Medical Director of Integrated Health Solutions. Our core belief is that each patient who walks through the doors is a person, not just a medical record or chart. Our greatest pleasure is bringing joy to our patients and helping them to fully embrace life, allowing them to enjoy each day: active, healthy and pain free.