February 2016

TMJ Pain

 

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is one of the most frequently used joints of the body and one of the most complex.  TMJ pain and dysfunction can be caused by an actual displacement of the cartilage disc of the TMJ or by an imbalance of the jaw muscles.  Typically TMJ dysfunction has both local (joint) and peripheral (muscle) dysfunctions that need to be addressed.

 
TMJ
 

TMJ pain may be sharp, occurring each time you swallow, yawn, talk, or chew, or it may be dull and constant.  The pain may be localized over the joint, immediately in front of the ear, but can also radiate to the temple, the cheek, the lower jaw, and the teeth.  TMJ dysfunction can also cause popping, clicking, or grinding sounds when the jaw is opened and closed. The jaw can lock during opening due to displacement of the disc.  Some people also get ringing in their ears from TMJ dysfunction.

 

Both major and minor trauma to the jaw can significantly contribute to the development of TMJ problems.  Chewing gum, grinding the teeth, and stress have been implicated as contributory factors to TMJ dysfunction. Other causes include improper alignment of the teeth, malpositioned jaw, and arthritis of the TMJ.

Active Release Techniques® and TMJ Pain

Repetitive overuse results in localized micro-trauma to the jaw muscles resulting in the development of excessive fibrotic scar tissue over time.  This scar tissue restricts the normal movement and function of the soft tissue structures resulting in pain and dysfunction.  An ART assessment and treatment is designed to located scar tissue adhesions in dysfunctional muscles that cause alterations in normal joint motion and function.   

Treatment for TMJ and related dysfunctions include:

 

·         Treatment of the dysfunctional muscular structures of the TMJ.

·         Rest the muscles of the jaw by a soft-food diet.
·         Assessment by dental professional for fitting of mouthguard to reduce clenching
      and grinding of teeth during sleep.
 

 


Active Performance Chiropractic focuses on the diagnosis, conservative treatment, and rehabilitation of repetitive overuse injuries.  Treatment is a unique blend of Active Release Techniques®, traditional chiropractic therapy, and physical rehabilitation designed according to each patient's condition, goals, and lifestyle.