7-overlooked-contributors-to-tmj-disordersTemporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are problems associated with the joint that attaches the lower jaw to the skull. It involves the pain and dysfunction that can occur due to the issues of the TMJ, and its surrounding muscles, joints, and ligaments. 

Some common culprits behind TMJ disorders are tooth problems, cartilage wear and tear, erosion of the disc within the joint, muscle strain, and jaw injury. Repetitive overuse of the TMJ can also lead to TMJ disorders. For example, chewing a piece of gum as a habit, clenching the jaw constantly, and biting fingernails can result in hyper-tensed muscles. Fortunately, a NUCCA doctor based in Texas can help with TMJ disorders. 

Overview of the TMJ

The temporomandibular joints attach the temporal bone of the skull with the mandible. If you want to know the location of the TMJs, touch the front of your ears on each side of your face. That’s where the TMJs are.

The TMJs are unique and complex as they are both hinge and gliding joints to allow important actions such as eating, yawning, and talking. The articular disc helps cushion the movements of the jaw. It is in between the bones of the mandible and skull. The muscles and ligaments provide mobility and stability to the jaw. 

Symptoms of TMJ Disorders 

Also known as TMJD, disorders of the TMJ happen more commonly than you can imagine. Approximately 1 out of every 8 people experience a TMJ disorder. Most of TMJD cases are reported in women. Below are some of the signs and symptoms of a TMJ disorder.

  • Limited range of motion of the jaw
  • Clicking sounds when opening or closing the mouth
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Earaches
  • Facial pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or vertigo

Overlooked Factors That Can Cause TMJ Pain and Disorders

Dental Problems

Dental issues such as having a bad bite, crooked teeth, missing teeth, fillings, and impacted wisdom teeth can all contribute to TMJ pain and disorders. If you undergo dental procedures, it may require holding your jaw open for a long period which can cause jaw soreness and discomfort. 

Nighttime Teeth Grinding

Do you wake up in the morning feeling pain or stiffness in your jaw? You may not be aware of it, but you may be grinding your teeth at night. Waking up with a headache or sore jaw can be an indication of sleep bruxism, a condition in which you grind your teeth. It can greatly impact the jaw. Another telltale sign of bruxism is having worn-down teeth that look flattened on top. People who unconsciously grind their teeth at night may be under high stress, have an improper bite, or have missing teeth. 

Joint Arthritis

Since the jaw can do a wide range of movements, the TMJ can develop arthritis. The articular disc can become displaced or worn. Also, the cartilage in the joint can become thinner. Some of the signs of joint arthritis are pain, stiffness, and grating. 

Trauma

The jaw can also break, misalign, or become injured just like the rest of the bones in the body. A hard blow to the jaw, face, or side of the head can result in bruises, inflammation, pain, and even loss of some teeth. Jaw trauma can also stem from a whiplash-type injury where the neck jerks forward and backward. Treating jaw trauma can take a couple of remedies. Some of the natural methods to ease jaw pain are using ice packs to relieve inflammation and eating soft foods. 

Poor Posture

Over time, poor posture such as slouched sitting or forward-head posture can add undue stress on the jaw. This can result in an uneven bite and TMJ disorders. 

Underlying Conditions

Although rare, some conditions can cause TMJ problems. For example, mumps can cause inflammation in the glands near the jaw. This can lead to pain and hinder your ability to open or close your mouth. Tetanus can also lead to lockjaw, which stems from spasm of muscles that prevent jaw movements. 

Atlas Misalignment

The atlas (C1) is the topmost vertebra in the neck. It is near the joints of the jaw on both sides of the head. The atlas supports the weight of the head and allows it wide-ranging movements. If the atlas moves out of alignment due to injury or wear and tear, it can affect your posture as well as put pressure on the jaw. Even worse, it can have an impact on the blood flow between the head and neck.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Brings Relief to People with TMJ Pain

At Symmetry Health Chiropractic Center, we do a unique form of therapy called upper cervical chiropractic care. It is a niche within the chiropractic practice that focuses on correcting an atlas misalignment through a precise and gentle method. Atlas misalignment is one of the leading reasons for TMJ disorders. It can lead to inflammation and jaw pain. The best natural way to correct it is by restoring the normal jaw alignment and function. 

Many of our patients have reported relief following an atlas correction through upper cervical chiropractic. Trust that a NUCCA doctor based in Texas can provide your body the time it needs to stabilize and recover. If the previous relief options you have tried failed you, maybe it’s about time you consider upper cervical chiropractic. Contact us for a no-obligation consultation, and be one of our next success stories. 

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tmj/symptoms-causes/syc-20350941

https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dental-disorders/temporomandibular-disorders/arthritis-of-the-temporomandibular-joint-tmj

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/why-your-jaw-hurts#1