Our bodies are made up of intricate systems functioning together in harmony, and when one part is compromised, it can affect the entire body. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is no exception. The TMJ is a complex joint that connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull, and when it’s out of balance, the entire body can suffer. TMJ pain arises when the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments around your jaw are out of balance or not in sync. This pain can range from mild discomfort to severe chronic pain if left untreated.
TMJ affects more than 10 million people in the United States alone and can affect anyone at any age. It is more common among women than men and can become more common with age. This is due to the gradual wear and tear that occurs with age and other factors related to lifestyle habits.
The jaw comprises two joints, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the mandibular joint (MJ). The TMJ is responsible for the movement of the jaw, while the MJ assists with proper jaw alignment and stability. When both joints are working in harmony, the jaw will function correctly. When one of these joints becomes irritated due to an injury, poor posture, or other causes, it can cause the jaw to become misaligned and lead to temporomandibular joint pain.
The surrounding facial muscles become tense and painful as the muscles work harder to stabilize the misaligned jaw. This pain leads to further complications such as headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and even earaches.
Chiropractic Care for TMJ Pain in Stuart, FL
Our chiropractors will use various techniques to help realign the jaw and reduce tension. These may include adjusting the jaw joint, applying pressure to trigger points, stretching, and mobilizing the surrounding muscles.
If they choose to adjust the joint, they will use a light force to move it into its correct position gently without cracking or popping the jaw. The method used will depend on the severity of your condition and what is causing it. Our chiropractors will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that will help you reduce your pain and improve your jaw function.
They may then recommend exercises or stretches to help keep the jaw in its correct position. Stretching and mobilizing the muscles around the jaw is also important for restoring the jaw’s normal range of motion. This can help to reduce tension and pain, as well as improve overall function.
Trigger point relief soft tissue work can help reduce muscle tension and relieve pain. Our chiropractors will use their hands to apply pressure to these knots, which will help release the built-up tension and reduce inflammation.
How Our TMJ Care Plan Works
1. Tell Your Story
When you arrive at our brand new, state-of-the-art facility, you’ll be greeted by two of the friendliest faces you’ve ever met. They will assist you with a simple intake form and escort you to one of our comfortable and elegant consultation suites. Then, your very own case manager will sit and listen to your story and document your areas of discomfort and loss. After your consultation is complete, the case manager will introduce you to all of our medical providers, who will individually perform an appropriate exam based on their experience and specialty and then determine what other additional testing, such as X-ray, MRI, CT or Diagnostic Ultrasound will need to be performed. Once completed, we will schedule your follow-up visit, typically within 24-48 hours.
2. Team Meeting
Between your Day 1 and your Day 2 visit, the medical, therapy, and chiropractic teams go into action. We pull together the clinical and intake data, the X-ray imaging, and the orthopedic and neurological testing results and determine a multidisciplinary approach diagnosis, utilizing over 50 years of healthcare experience. This enables every treatment team member to have a say in your unique condition, diagnosis, and purpose for why you want to be healthier. We can then produce a comprehensive and specialized treatment plan that will help you get better faster, address the cause of your painful condition, and effectively stay healthy to enjoy a future quality of life.
3. Accelerated Recovery Program
Our comprehensive program is designed to restore your quality of life efficiently and effectively. We may employ a variety of modalities to accomplish this goal including but not limited to Regenerative Medicine, PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma), Lumbar and Cervical Spinal Decompression, Class 4 Laser Therapy, Radial Pressure Wave, Neurocure, NeuroMed, In-House Active Therapy, Spinal and Extremity Adjustments.
4. Quality & Quantity of Life
At Harbour Medical, our goal is to quickly remove your pain points, address and correct the underlying condition of those areas, and provide you with the simple tools to maintain, preserve, and protect the new and amazing level of function and well-being that translates into your ability to enjoy the moments that give your life purpose and joy.
Common Causes of TMJ in Stuart, FL
When you clench or grind your teeth, your jaw is forced into an unnatural position, causing excess pressure on the temporomandibular joint leading to pain and inflammation. The extra pressure can also cause the jaw to become misaligned, leading to further pain and discomfort.
Arthritis can misalign the jaw, leading to swelling and inflammation. This can also cause additional stress on the temporomandibular joint, leading to more pain. In some cases, the joint can become so damaged that it needs to be replaced.
The neck muscles connect to the jaw muscles. When one is tense, the other will become tense. That means poor posture that triggers neck and shoulder tension can lead to jaw tension and pain.
When we are stressed, it can cause us to clench and grind our teeth, leading to temporomandibular joint pain. It can also cause us to tense our muscles, leading to jaw tension and discomfort. The constant stress can also lead to headaches and neck pain.
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Common Symptoms of TMJ Pain in Stuart, FL
Your jaw may feel sore and tender, or there may be a sharp pain when you move it. This pain is similar to the pain of an earache. It might be worse on one side or felt on both sides of your jaw.
Jaw Popping or Clicking
You may hear or feel a popping or clicking sensation when you open your mouth. This can be caused by the jaw joint becoming misaligned or by a buildup of muscle tension. It can be accompanied by pain or stiffness.
Muscle tension can lock your jaw in one position and will not move. This symptom is usually accompanied by pain or discomfort. Sometimes, the only way to unlock your jaw is with help from a doctor or physical therapist.
You are often unaware that you are clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth. It can be a sign of stress or anxiety and cause pain in the jaw and face. It can also lead to headaches and other TMJ symptoms.
A misalignment of the jaw or tightness in the muscles can make it difficult to open your mouth wide enough to chew food properly. This symptom is usually accompanied by pain or discomfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can chiropractic care help with TMJ?
Yes, chiropractic care can help to reduce pain and improve function in the jaw. Chiropractors are trained to diagnose and treat various conditions, including temporomandibular joint pain. They can use multiple techniques, such as spinal manipulation, to reduce tension in the jaw and improve the range of motion. They can also recommend lifestyle changes and exercises to help with temporomandibular joint pain.
How do you permanently fix TMJ?
TMJ is a complex condition, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend a combination of treatments, such as chiropractic care, massage, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes.
What causes TMJ to flare up?
TMJ can result from various factors, such as grinding your teeth, jaw misalignment, stress or anxiety, and arthritis. It can also be triggered by a traumatic event such as whiplash, an injury to the face, and even certain medications or medical conditions. If you do not treat the underlying cause, your symptoms may continue to flare up.
What happens if TMJ is left untreated?
If temporomandibular joint pain is left untreated, it can lead to long-term problems such as chronic pain, difficulty eating and speaking, and jaw deformities. It can also lead to other health problems, such as headaches, earaches, and neck pain.
Can chiropractors crack jaws?
Chiropractors can safely manipulate the temporomandibular joint to improve range of motion and decrease pain.
Can TMJ cause neurological problems?
In rare cases, temporomandibular joint pain can cause neurological problems such as facial numbness, facial paralysis, and difficulty swallowing. These only occur when temporomandibular joint pain causes severe damage to the facial nerves. They may also occur if temporomandibular joint pain is left untreated for an extended period.