TMJ joint and associated muscles

TMJ (TMD) Temporomandibular Joint Dysfuntions (Jaw Joint)

TMJ is a condition in which dysfunction at the jaw joint causes pain or other health problems. Associated problems can be simple joint problems such as clicks/pops, pain, and tracking problems, or they can be complex and far reaching health conditions. The jaw innervation of the Fifth cranial nerve has interesting implications. The nucleus to the fifth cranial nerve is in the spinal cord in the neck and often extends down to the fifth cervical level. Because excessive neurological input from the TMJ problem can excessively excite the spinal cord in the neck, many obscure conditions can be a result of TMJ problems. Headaches in the temples are often related to TMJ for instance.

 

Many people realize they have a problem with their jaw, but don’t know what to do about it. Even dentists who frequently have close observation of the joint have disagreements about how to diagnose TMD and whether problems can exist. Perhaps it is more of a concern about liability, since having the jaw open for extended periods of time is frequently thought to aggravate the joint. However, other common aggravators are chewing constantly (ie gum), yawning, always chewing on one side, etc. Some people do not realize they have a jaw problem and chase after relief from the domino effect of symptoms caused by their jaw and never find satisfactory relief because the real problem has not been addressed. Sometime you can check yourself. Open your mouth slowly all the way and have someone watch if it goes straight or curves. While your mouth is open stick 3 finger in on edge, do they fit? They should. Open your jaw just slightly and jut in and out, and then side to side. Does it hurt? Does it feel the same side to side or is one side tighter. A chiropractor is the joint professional that can give you the best assessment of your jaw joint. We offer treatment for TMJ dysfunction which does not involve thrusting into the joint. The TM joint is delicate and very sensitive. Our techniques involve soft tissue manual therapy (you can think of it as “massage”), manual traction, and tracking/alignment adjustments. Laser light therapy may be used to help the joint heal or help with inflammation or muscle spasms.  

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