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Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder

The two joints connecting your jaw to the bottom sides of your skull are called the temporomandibular joints. A complex structure comprises of bones, tendons, and muscles, the temporomandibular joint allows you to speak, chew and move your jaw without experiencing stiffness or pain. If this joint suffers inflammation, disease or trauma, you may feel pain radiating through your face, neck, and jaw when this joint is moved.

Man with jaw pain.

In some cases, people with TMJ feel pain even when they are not moving their jaw. Additionally, stiffness and rigidity often accompany TMJ pain, making it difficult to eat, speak or drink. Standard treatment for TMJ disorder involves pain, anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxant medications prescribed by a dentist, night guards to prevent teeth grinding or orthodontic procedures to fix uneven bites.

Causes of TMJ Disorder

Joint degeneration, injury to the jaw, arthritis, dislocation of the TMJ joint (s), teeth clenching/grinding and jaw/teeth misalignment is common reasons for the development of the temporomandibular joint disorder. You may be at risk for TMJ disorder if you suffer osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic teeth grinding or connective tissue inflammation/disease. In some cases, no specific cause of TMJ disorder may be found. When treatment methods prescribed by your dentist or doctor fail to relieve pain and stiffness, your Joliet chiropractor recommends adjustments to relieve pressure on spinal nerves extending into your head and jaw.

How is TMJ Disorder Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of the temporomandibular disorder may be accomplished using sonography, electromyography, or mandibular scans. An electromyograph evaluates jaw tension due to misalignment while a sonography record sounds produced when the jaw is moved up and down. Dentists rely on mandibular scans to track motion parameters of the jaw to see if it rests correctly when nearly closed or closed completely.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

In addition to pain radiating from the jaw joint, other signs of TMJ include:

  • Clicking or popping noises when the jaw is opened and closed
  • Ear pain
  • Popping noises within the ears
  • Head pain/headaches/pain around the temples
  • Stiff jaw muscles
  • Locking of the temporomandibular joint

Since the nervous system is involved in TMJ, some people may experience vertigo or periods of dizziness due to signaling disruptions throughout the central nervous system.

Adjustments and Cold Laser Therapy for TMJ

Combining spinal adjustments to restore optimal nervous system functioning with cold laser therapy is highly recommended by chiropractors who understand TMJ is not always due to dental problems. Cold laser therapy penetrates joint tissues with therapeutic low-energy, light photons that naturally decrease inflammation and facilitates healing. Safe and painless, cold laser therapy successfully treats a wide variety of painful musculoskeletal conditions involving joint and tissue damage using FDA-approved laser therapy.

Contact Our Local Chiropractor in Joliet, IL Today!

If you are suffering symptoms of TMJ, please schedule an appointment with your Joliet chiropractor at ANEW Medical and Rehabilitation today by contacting us 815-207-7463.

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*We are open the 2nd Saturday of every month.

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Testimonial

Dr. Lisa has done great things for my TMJ. She is easy to talk to and always willing to listen.

Liz / Joliet, IL

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