"TMJ. What is it and how to get help with jaw pain."
TMJ is an acronym for tempo-mandibular joint. It's the joint between the jaw and where it connects (articulates) with part of our head (skull). It's a very complex and critical joint that allows for the movement of our jaw with everything we do, from talking, chewing, yawning and everthing else you can think of. Problems with it are more accurately called tempo-mandibular disorder or TMD. These problems include such things as jaw pain, clenching, teeth grinding (bruxism), headaches, migraines, dizziness and other miserable and life-interfering conditions.
Most people with TMJ problems often consult their dentist for solutions because our jaw is so closely related to our teeth. Sometimes a dentist will recommend a splint to be worn at night to prevent the teeth from grinding or to hold it in a certain position. Not being a dentist, I can't give a very good explanation of the various treatment methods that are available to a dentist. I've spoken with a number of them as well as their assistants and it sounds like there are a limited number of solutions with not the highest amount of success. It can be a very troublesome joint.
Chiropractic, Cold Laser and Percussion
I've found a very high percentage of success in helping TMJ, TMD sufferers with a combination of chiropractic care, postural correction, cold laser and the use of a hand held percussor. Information that I've been found seems to reinforce my belief that the function of the jaw is very much influenced by the condition of the cervical spine (neck), the posture of the head in relationship to the upper body, the neurology and communication between the brain and the jaw muscles as well as the soft tissues that support and control the movement of the jaw.
Trauma to the jaw can occur from auto-accidents, especially rear-end collisions as well as sports injuries where the head and neck are involved. A fall to the ground on one's shoulder will almost always traumatize the head and neck due to the sudden stop and collision of the shoulder with the ground, accompanied by the momentum of the head towards the ground or other hard surface.
Poor workplace ergonomics, sleeping on one's stomach and other harmful postures can all contribute to eventual jaw pain/problems.
If you or someone you know is suffering with TMJ pain and related issues listed above, you would probably be an excellent candidate to have a chiropractic examination done to determine the extent of the involvement of the neck and spine. Don't suffer with jaw pain, as help is most certainly available. Feel free to call our office as we're happy to answer anyone's questions.