Although all joints in the body are important, the temporomandibular joint is really important because you use it all the time, even if you don’t know what it is. The temporomandibular joint is what moves your jaw. You use this joint to chew your food and talk. With as much use as it gets, problems with it can be debilitating.
The temporomandibular joint (also known as TMJ) is where the jaw bone articulates (connects) with the temporal bone of the skull. The joint is located in front of the opening of the ear. The joint has a disc, three ligaments and a set of muscles that move the joint. The main motions of the joint are the opening and closing, and pushing the jaw outward and pulling it back in.
When the TMJ isn’t functioning properly, it is most commonly referred to as TMJ disorder. Some symptoms include clicking while moving the jaw, headaches or neck pain, swollen and painful joints, and aching around the ear. It is also common that those who grind their teeth at night will be more likely to have TMJ disorder resulting from the unnatural tension and motion. Even extended trips to the dentist with long periods of open mouth so the dentist can perform work can be enough to irritate the joint, at least for a period of time.
If you have TMJ pain or feel you may have a TMJ disorder, you can head to your chiropractor. Chiropractic care focuses on the optimal health and function of the nervous system, which is your body’s communication system. The method used is the chiropractic adjustment. Although doctors of chiropractic primarily adjust spinal joints in order to remove any interference, the adjustment can be performed on any joint of the body, including the TMJ. The adjustment restores joint range of motion. When a joint doesn’t move through its full range of motion symptoms and disorders often present. The restoration of the joint motion through the adjustment often relieves the symptoms and disorder. Chiropractors may suggest use of other deep tissue muscle work to relax the pterygoid muscles, or natural supplements, to help decrease inflammation.
TMJ disorders don’t need to be debilitating, and they don’t often need to be treated surgically. If you are suffering, there are options; and if you prefer natural approaches to healthcare, chiropractic care may be a great option for you.
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