Temporomandibular disorders affect between 5 to 12% of Americans, causing symptoms like jaw pain, headaches, and difficulty chewing. Many people know this problem as TMJ.
TMJ pain and headaches can seriously impact your quality of life, and sometimes traditional medical treatments like medications don't fix the issue. If you haven't tried chiropractic care, it's time to learn more about this option to get the TMJ headache relief you need.
Chiropractic treatments can reduce TMJ headaches and other symptoms, improving your overall well-being.
Keep reading this guide to learn how a chiropractic adjustment can relieve your headaches and TMJ pain.
Overview of TMJ
First, it's helpful to learn more about TMJ and the symptoms it can cause.
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower mandible to the skull, and it's found on the sides of your head, just in front of the ears. This joint is the mechanism that allows your jaw to open and close and enables you to speak and chew food normally.
You'll also hear the abbreviation TMJ or TMD (temporomandibular disorder) used to refer to health conditions that affect your jaw. TMD causes joint tenderness and facial pain, and you'll have difficulty moving the joint normally.
TMJ Disorder Symptoms
TMJ disorder symptoms depend on how severe your condition is. Some people might feel minimal symptoms while others may experience various symptoms like:
· Jaw muscle stiffness
· Jaw clicking or popping
· Difficulty with normal jaw movements
· Jaw pain
· Face and neck pain
· Wearing down of teeth
You can have symptoms on only one side of the face or both sides. Grinding your teeth along with tense muscles can cause frequent TMJ headaches.
TMJ Disorder Causes
In many cases, there may not be a clear cause for your TMJ disorder. Sometimes trauma to the joint can cause it or other health conditions like:
· Growth disorders
· Nail biting
· Degenerative joint disease
· Excessive chewing
In addition, constant grinding or clenching of your teeth can lead to TMJ.
Chiropractic Care for TMJ Disorders
Going to the chiropractor for TMJ treatment is a natural and effective way to reduce TMJ symptoms by treating the underlying cause. Chiropractic treatments can ease tension, inflammation, and pain.
It's best to find an experienced chiropractor who offers various adjustments and other therapies like muscle stimulation therapy.
When you first visit a chiropractor for TMJ disorder symptoms, they'll do an overall physical assessment. This physical assessment includes a review of the symptoms you're experiencing and the location of your pain.
Most chiropractors will do X-rays of the jaw area, which give information about the bones around your jaw and teeth placement.
Based on this assessment, your chiropractor should be able to identify any contributing factors and come up with a custom treatment plan.
Your treatment plan will typically include various therapies like:
A chiropractic adjustment is a procedure that involves a sudden but controlled force on the joints in your body. Ultimately this realigns your spine and reduces pain and tension. You may have heard of this being referred to as spinal manipulation or joint manipulation.
But chiropractic adjustments don't just treat back or neck pain. Adjustment techniques can treat muscle pain and tension anywhere in your body, like your shoulders, wrists, head, and jaw.
For TMJ chiropractic adjustment, a chiropractor will identify which side of the jaw they should work on first. They'll then adjust the side of the jaw that's locked or stuck first using a light push motion. This will help to relieve the tension, which should help your headache pain.
Ultrasound therapy is a treatment that can ease pain and stiffness from injured, sore, or overworked muscles. Ultrasound therapy produces sound waves that vibrate through painful areas.
These high-frequency sound waves create a small amount of heat. The heat will draw blood to the treatment area, which breaks up scar tissue and promotes healing.
Since ultrasound therapy is effective for muscle and tendon injuries, it can reduce pain associated with TMJ headaches. Your chiropractor will decide how often you should get ultrasound treatments.
Massage Therapy and Myofascial Release
Chiropractic care for TMJ-induced headaches also involves massage therapy of TMJ trigger points. Trigger points are sore and tender spots on your body that feel painful when pressed. Pressing these areas also sends sensations like tingling and pain to other body parts.
The masseter muscle is a jaw muscle in the cheekbone area. Massaging the trigger points of this muscle can relieve TMJ headaches.
Additionally, a group of muscles along the back of your skull and the front of the neck can have TMJ trigger points. Massaging the temporal muscles where your temples are in front of your ears also relieves trigger points.
Myofascial release therapy is a gentle, constant massage that releases muscle tightness and relieves trigger points.
Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)
This therapy involves low-frequency electronic impulses to your jaw muscles that can reduce pain, inflammation, and tension. EMS is very effective in relaxing the jaw muscles and reducing headaches.
Your chiropractor will typically use this in conjunction with other treatments like massage therapy and chiropractic adjustments.
Finally, your chiropractor will discuss lifestyle changes you should make to help further relieve symptoms and prevent symptoms from reoccurring. Some of these recommendations include:
· Reduce jaw movements
· Eat softer foods
· Use ice packs to decrease swelling
· Avoid chewing gum
· Avoid tough foods
· Reduce stress
Taking over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen short-term can help with painful symptoms. Your chiropractor will also teach you various exercises and stretches you can do at home.
Ultimately forming a routine at home will help keep you symptom-free long-term. You'll also make lifestyle changes that will improve your overall health.
See a Chiropractor for TMJ Headache Relief
Now that you know how seeing a chiropractor can give you the TMJ headache relief you've been looking for, it's time to take the next steps.
You can turn to Blue Diamond Integrative Care Clinic in the southwest Las Vegas region for your TMJ care needs. We also treat headaches, back pain, neck pain, car accident injuries, and more.
Our treatments include chiropractic adjustments, ultrasound, massage, and myofascial release techniques. We'll assess your symptoms and form a custom treatment plan to help you live a happy, healthy, and pain-free life.
We look forward to helping you, so make sure to contact us today to schedule an appointment.