What is TMD?
TMD, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, is categorized as any problem or added tension that occurs within your temporomandibular joint. The temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects the bones of your skull located in front of your ears. TMD is most common in women between the ages of 20 and 40, however, men experience TMD as well.
What are some symptoms of TMD?
There are many different symptoms of TMD. These include:
- Overall feelings of pain or tenderness surrounding your jaw, face, neck and ears
- Problems when trying to open your mouth wide
- Clicking or popping noises when talking or chewing
- Facial swelling
- Trouble closing your mouth and/or a misalignment in your bite
- Toothaches, earaches, and headaches
- Hearing problems
- Upper shoulder pain
- Trouble swallowing
What causes TMD?
There is much debate over the cause of TMD but researchers have narrowed it down to a few principle categories including myofascial pain, a dislocated jaw or displaced disc, degenerative joint diseases, injury, physical or emotional stress, and jaw misalignment. Many patients that experience TMD may suffer from one or more of the listed causes.
What can a chiropractor do?
Because TMD is a problem with the temporormandibular joint, chiropractors focus on the area surrounding the named joint and on trigger points in your body that may be causing TMD. In this case, trigger points are specific muscles that add tension to the jaw. These trigger points include the trapezius muscle, located at the back of the neck; the sternocleidomastoid muscle, located along the neck and extending from the collarbone to the ear; the masseter muscle, located in the back of the jaw; and the medial pterygoid muscle located on the jaw behind the molars.
It is important to understand that TMD is the result of tightened muscles or misalignment in the jaw usually caused by the listed problems above. Therefore, when chiropractors massage, relieve tension, and make adjustments to areas experiencing pressure, symptoms of TMD can also be relieved.
In cases where TMD is the result of injury, chiropractors work with patients to rehabilitate the body back to proper working conditions. In other cases, your chiropractor may find that TMD is simply just a result of poor posture causing tension in the jaw. If this is the case, your chiropractor will help you make proper adjustments to relieve pain.
Remember, chiropractic care is a non-invasive, safe and natural form of pain relief. While many doctors aim to mask pain, chiropractors get to the root of the problem to make life-long changes. Visit The Joint today to find out how your chiropractor can help you. Don’t worry, no appointment necessary.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.