Like 12 percent of the population, I suffer from jaw pain or Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) and mostly have had no relief since it began in high school. I tried exercises, dentistry, and even chewing my food differently all to no avail. Then, while I was in chiropractic school, I had my jaw adjusted (yes, it is a thing) and felt an instant change for the first time in years. In this blog, I will detail what TMD is and why chiropractic may be the answer for you.
Temporomandibular Disorder is caused by dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Although most people refer to jaw pain as TMJ, that is just the name of the joint, the correct term is Temporomandibular Disorder or TMD. So what is the temporomandibular joint? The joint is composed of the lower portion of your skull (temporal bone), the upper portion of your lower jaw (mandible), and the hole where they connect (mandibular fossa). The jaw and skull at the joint are separated by the articular disk which is a thin mass of cartilage that allows the jaw and skull to slide against each other. When the disk becomes damaged or moves out of place, pain and clicking inside the joint can occur. The clicking is caused by the disk becoming stuck in between the two bones and then rapidly releasing all at once instead of one fluid motion.
How Does it Start?
There isn’t one specific cause of why TMD begins. Often, it occurs in high school because that is the time when most people get braces and the jaw is under high stress to make more room for your teeth. While the teeth may be straighter, it may not be the optimal jaw position for some people and the TMJ. Other causes include teeth grinding/clenching, arthritis, stress, poor posture, and overuse of jaw muscles (excessive gum chewing).
How Can Chiropractic Help?
Fortunately, chiropractic can fix many of the causes that are related to TMD. Chiropractic can improve stress and poor posture through a combination of spinal adjustments, soft tissue manipulation, and exercise. If the cause is due to overuse, soft tissue manipulation such as Active Release Technique is the perfect solution for jaw pain and the patient can expect quick results. If any of the above causes also include clicking, a direct jaw adjustment by a specifically trained chiropractor can have a massive impact on TMD and jaw pain.
At Hamilton Chiropractic, Dr. Ryan Hamilton has trained to adjust jaws and has improved many patients’ jaw pain and TMD while in practice. Due to his own experiences with TMD, Dr. Ryan Hamilton is able to understand why certain treatments may be more or less successful for the individual patient. Because Dr. Ryan Hamilton is also a full-body certified provider in Active Release Technique, he is able to combine specific soft tissue manipulation with chiropractic adjustments of the jaw. If you or someone you know is suffering from jaw pain, contact Dr. Ryan Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment and get out of pain quickly.