is it LOCKJAW or just stress? (TMJD)
3 MINUTE READ TIME
GOLD COAST BLOG
Dr. Paul Fisher
For those of you who are familiar with this, you already know exactly what Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder is. But for those of you who aren’t, TMJD is an issue with the jaw, specifically the area where your jaw meets up with the skull.
If you are suffering or know someone suffering from TMJD, you know how painful this can be, how chewing, even just going throughout the day, can cause such severe pain going from the side of your face up to the head, and down into the jaw. It not only causes headaches but also makes it difficult to eat, sleep, or even to relax.
How Do You Get TMJD?
Many times, TMJD is aggravated by stress. So, when you get stressed, it gets more painful which increases the stress, and then you find yourself in the same toxic cycle you had with your ex. Not a good situation to be in. This can really be a very long term painful situation if not appropriately treated.
How Chiropractors Can Help with Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder
A lot of the patients we see in this office have dealt with TMJD for even up to four years, before they really got to a core of what’s going on. So, how can chiropractors help with TMJD? The simple answer is that there is a huge correlation between your neck and your jaw. If your neck has a proper curve, your jaw effectively balances out your head.
Without a proper curve, your jaw shifts incorrectly and clenches very tightly to keep your jaw where it is supposed to and help maintain the balance in your head.
Now, you’re probably also wondering, can this relate to pain in the shoulders, upper neck? Yes, absolutely. But the jaw is the focus, because it is such an important joint in your body. Just think of all the ways you use your jaw muscles. It would just be unfortunate to go years being in pain from trying to eat a Portillo’s hot dog.
How We Treat TMJD
Let’s start off with what we don’t do:
We are not the dentist, we are not going to work with appliances, bite guards, night guards, anything like that to change your jaw. Some of the alignment options whether that be braces, clear aligners - which is an extremely popular one, but how that will change the bite, we don’t work with.
What we actually do:
- What we have found a lot of success with is correcting the curve in the neck, but even moreso, the muscles on the side of your head, by the side of your jaw, they can be spastic, for months or even years, and as chiropractors, what we’re able to do is work to decrease the tension on those muscles.
- Many times we use simple, manual therapy techniques, but we also have dry needling, cold laser if the case is that extremely severe.
- Some patients with TMJD will get a fullness or an issue with their ears. We also have adjustments that can help clear out the ear canal, and make sure that everything is flowing the way that it’s supposed to.
- We’ll also provide lifestyle changes and we’ll work hand in hand with oral healthcare providers.
The biggest issue is correcting the muscles around the jaw and also the skull, decreasing the tension in those areas. Here at Gold Coast Chiropractic, we can help provide the tools needed to take that added stress and pain away.
Dr. Paul Fisher