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TMJ

image of man in pain pressing his fingers against his jaw

The temporomandibular joint connects the jawbone to the skull. Up to 10 million people suffer from painful temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Symptoms include pain in the face and neck, locked jaw or limited jaw movement, painful clicking when moving the mouth, dizziness, difficulty chewing or swallowing and a change in the way the teeth fit together. TMD is about four times more common in women than men.

Causes

TMD has many causes, some physical, some emotional. A jaw injury, such as one caused by a car accident or being hit hard by a ball, can lead to TMD. Degenerative joint disease is another leading physical cause of TMD.

Emotional stress can cause behaviors that lead to TMD, such as clenching the jaw or grinding the teeth.

Conventional Treatment

You can manage TMD through medications or lifestyle interventions. Your doctor may recommend muscle relaxants or pain relievers. Certain types of antidepressants also relieve pain. If you clench your teeth at night, aggravating your TMD pain, your doctor might prescribe a sedative. These medications bring along a variety of side effects.

Other interventions don’t require drugs. Rest your jaws by eating soup or soft food. Avoid chewing gum. Firm or soft bite guards sometimes relieve pain, and keep you from grinding your teeth at night. Ice packs or moist heat can help. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to strengthen and stretch your jaw muscles.

If stress and anxiety are the cause of your TMD, try relaxation techniques. Mindfulness meditation, acupuncture, biofeedback, talking to a counselor or massage might help.

In extreme cases, some doctors recommend surgery to repair this joint.

Chiropractic Care and TMJ

Some patients with TMD find relief through chiropractic care. A chiropractor can manipulate your neck and jaw to improve alignment and relax muscle tension. Many chiropractors will also recommend special exercises, hot and cold treatment and other non-pharmaceutical interventions. Your chiropractor might team up with your dentist to provide the best care.

If you’re suffering from TMD, call us today so we can help ease your jaw pain.

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Testimonials

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I have been going to chiropractors off and on for many years but only when my back was hurting to a point where I had trouble walking due to the back pain. I’ve had a bad back off and on for as long as I can remember so I was anxious to find permanent relief. I started going to Dr. Kip about 2 years ago and after several months I was put on a maintenance program, initially twice a week and months later, once a week. Since I’ve been on the maintenance program, I’ve had no regular issues. These regular visits also have other benefits due to discussions with the Dr. and office staff and info on the “health T.V.”"
    -Ron R.
  • "I have been coming to see Dr. Kip for almost a year. I started coming in because of my back pain but I wasn’t really sure what chiropractic was or how it could help. Today I feel I have a much better understanding and that chiropractic is a very good and necessary asset of healing. My back pain is not so severe now. It feels better, and when it does begin to hurt I know what to do to make it better. The kindness and understanding of the office staff give the whole experience a calming and reassuring vibe."
    -Joycie G.
  • "Our family has been coming to see Dr. Kip for 2 years. We came in initially because Julie was having severe shoulder pain along with numbness in her arms. She thought it was linked to a problem in her neck. Brian suffered from migraines every few months. We didn’t know much about chiropractic care before. We’d had some in the past but never on a regular basis. I believe our family is healthier as a result of chiropractic care. In fact this year has been the healthiest year for our family with no sickness other than colds and Brian experiencing fewer migraines! We love the staff, of course, and the affordable care plan allows our entire family to receive care."
    -Brian K. and Family