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What Can Help With Your TMJ Disorder? Here's a List

what-can-help-with-your-tmj-disorder-heres-a-listUntil it becomes uncomfortable, most people are unaware of their TMJ (temporomandibular joint). The TMJ connects your jaw bone to to the outside of the skull and assists with many of the daily actions we take, such as yawning, talking, chewing, and eating.

The unique function of the TMJ is due to its design. The lower part of the jaw, or mandible, has rounded ends called condyles that attach to the skull on both sides. These condyles work in conjunction with the temporal bones, which is on the side of the skull. Inserted between each of the condyles and the temporal bones is a disc of soft cartilage. These discs absorb much of the shock caused by biting, chewing, and other jaw movements. The TMJ allows the mouth to open and close, and  glide from side to side.

When we experience problems with the TMJ, it is called temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJD or just TMD.

TMJ Disorder Comes from Where?

When malfunction of the jaw occurs, it can cause pain or tenderness. The pain can come from any of these causes::

  1. Dislocation or displacement of the cartilage disc, possibly as a result of a blow to the neck or head.
  2. Pain or discomfort  in the muscles that manage the jaw.
  3. Arthritic (inflammatory or degenerative) changes in the TMJ

A combination of these conditions may be present or accompanied by other health disorders.  These symptoms often come and go,  creating a delay in  appropriate treatment.

Digging Deeper into TMD

There are also numerous but less-obvious symptoms that frequently occur, such as:

  • Inability to completely open the mouth
  • Misaligned bite when closing the mouth
  • Tinnitus – with or without dizziness
  • Earaches
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Aching facial pain
  • Visual dsyfunction – especially after a motor vehicle accident
  • Popping or clicking in the jaw joints
  • Bruxism or grinding of the teeth

A variety of symptoms are possible because the TMJ joints are near the inner ear and the upper cervical (upper neck) area of the spine. This part of the body involves nerves that oversee the movement of the jaw and detect sensation to the jaw and face.

A List of TMD Relief Care for Patients

Commonly recommended care by medical doctors or dentists includes:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Pain medications
  • Botox injections
  • Jaw splints or bite guards

Patients may also be instructed to;

  • Avoid chewing gum
  • Eat soft foods to reduce strain on your jaw muscles
  • Avoid clenching or tensing your jaw
  • Incorporate relaxation or stress-reducing techniques
  • Use moist heat to relax the jaw muscles
  • Avoid extreme jaw movements when yawning, chewing, or talking

Successful TMJ Relief with Upper Cervical Care

Neck pain is a common complaint of patients with TMD.  Because of the proximity of the cervical vertebrae to the TMJ, their misalignment could impair the way the jaw moves, leading to pain in the neck, face, ears, head, as well as the jaw itself.  The upper cervical chiropractor uses a unique procedure to adjust the cervical vertebrae,  relieving pressure on the nerve and soft tissues to assist the body’s natural healing ability. By correcting the position of these vertebrae, it also reduces things like head tilt and rotation which helps keep the temporal bones in a level position. While upper cervical care may achieve the desired outcome, Dr. Smith is also a certified extremity practitioner, which means he has studied the unique movements of the TMJ itself, and can adjust the joint directly if needed.

Visit us here at Atlanta Upper Cervical Chiropractic in Decatur, GA.  Dr. Smith is available for consultation.  A detailed analysis will be conducted to ensure the accuracy and precision of any adjustment. Our method is gentle and non-invasive.

Reserve an appointment with by calling (470) 347-3737 or email us at:  info@atlantauppercervical.com.

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