A Simple & Effective Solution to TMJ & Jaw Pain
Problems with one or both of your temporomandibular (TMJ) joints are a common cause of jaw pain. Your TMJ connects your mandible, or jaw, with your temporal bone—part of your skull. Your TMJ contains a fibrocartilagenous disc that’s situated between these two bones. This disc helps your jaw move smoothly and effectively. TMJ problems can cause pain within your jaw joints or the muscles that control your jaw movement. Read on to learn more about TMJ problems and what you can do to eliminate them and restore healthy, pain-free jaw function.
TMJ disorders can occur at any age, though women between the ages of 20 and 40 are most commonly affected by this health problem. In most cases, jaw pain may be associated with one of these three general problems:
- Myofascial pain: Pain and discomfort in the muscles controlling jaw movement
- Intra-joint dysfunction: Internal joint problems (e.g., displaced disc, jaw dislocation)
- Arthritic changes: Inflammatory joint disorders that alter joint dynamics
TMJ problems commonly occur in combination with other health problems, including:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Sleep disturbances
- Rheumatic diseases
Poor posture is one risk factor for TMJ problems that is often overlooked. Holding your head and neck forward for prolonged periods (such as when working at a computer) can put significant strain on your face and neck muscles and contribute to TMJ disorders.
Causes & Symptoms
The underlying cause of TMJ and jaw pain is unknown in most cases. However, certain factors may contribute to this health problem, including:
- TMJ or jaw trauma
- Trauma to head and neck muscles (from whiplash, for example)
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- TMJ disc dislocation
- Rheumatoid or osteoarthritis in your TMJ
- High levels of stress or anxiety
TMJ symptoms usually fluctuate in severity over time. Some people with this condition may experience mild pain or discomfort while others experience chronic, persistent, and debilitating pain. Common signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders include:
- Jaw, face, or neck pain
- Jaw muscle stiffness
- Decreased jaw movement
- Jaw locking
- Painful clicking, grating, or popping with mouth opening or closing
- Altered “bite” (upper and lower teeth no longer properly fit together)
TMJ problems respond to conventional and conservative care approaches with varying degrees of success. One noninvasive approach that has proven effective about 80 percent of the time is manipulation under general anesthesia (MUA). The beneficial effects of gentle, focused TMJ adjustments delivered under sedation include:
- Reduction in TMJ and jaw muscle pain and tenderness
- Favorable repositioning of your TMJ disc
- Elimination of the painful and annoying clicking that often occurs with TMJ disorders
MUA is performed by a qualified chiropractic physician in a comfortable setting. MUA is a conservative treatment that produces consistent and excellent results from patient to patient.
Schedule a free consultation with Dr. Wolstein and his team of MUA experts. Dr. Wolstein can counsel you further on MUA and how this unique healthcare approach can help address your TMJ pain and other symptoms.