TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. TMJ Disorder is a type of temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMD. The joints impacted are the hinges that attach the top and bottom jaw, and TMJ disorder happens when these joints are not functioning correctly. Because this joint is so complicated, it has a higher chance of having issues than other joints in the body. Any slight issue within the joint system can cause the jaw to feel unhinged or stuck. It can occur on either side of the jaw or on both sides of the jaw.
TMJ could be caused by joint degeneration due to bite misalignment, or it could be caused by a traumatic injury to the jaw. Continual teeth clenching may play a role in the development of TMJ, as well. The causes of TMJ are sometimes not known, but it is a common cause of pain and leads many people to seek pain relief from both medical doctors and chiropractic caregivers. While the causes are uncertain, there are some very effective pain management techniques offered by chiropractic caregivers.
There is no certain treatment that is right for everyone, and in fact, many people find that a combination of chiropractic care and lifestyle adjustments works best for TMJ relief. While a bite can be adjusted properly via surgery or dental devices, many people still suffer from chronic pain afterwards due to extreme muscle tension. The chiropractor can perform adjustments to the cervical and lumbar spine that will alleviate the pressure, allowing the muscles to relax into their proper state. The chiropractor will focus on the head, neck, and jaw, especially the Atlas vertebra. The Atlas vertebra, once properly adjusted, helps the head to sit properly atop the neck and prevents muscle strain. Lifestyle adjustments may include the application of moist heat at home. Sometimes devices like dental night guards can also be helpful.
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