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The Jaw Bone's Connected to the Back Bone: Treatment for TMJ and TMD

Blog by Dr. Michael Horowitz | February 17th, 2017

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge joint that connects your jaw to the temporal, or side, bones of your skull. The TMJ allows you to move your jaw up and down, and side to side in order to chew, talk, and yawn. If you have experienced pain in your TMJ, or if you have been diagnosed with temporomandibular disorder (TMD) these symptoms may sound familiar:

  • Pain in your face, jaw, neck or shoulders when you chew or open your mouth wide.
  • Jaws that get stuck in the open or closed position.
  • Clicking or popping sounds in the joint while chewing or opening or closing your mouth
  • Difficulty chewing or an uncomfortable bite

The above symptoms occur when the joint becomes misaligned or when malfunction occurs due to an injury to the muscles in your head or neck, grinding or clenching your teeth, arthritis in the joint, or stress. It comes as a surprise to people when they learn that a properly aligned spine plays a significant role in jaw joint alignment, but it's true! A chiropractor is able to offer relief from TMJ pain or TMD using a series of spinal adjustments, particularly to the upper cervical spine and skull. Registered massage therapist (RMTs) can offer pain relief to the TMJ by focusing on muscle knots surrounding the joints, particularly the masticatory (chewing) muscles and the fascia (the connective tissue) around the jaw area. If you’d like to speak to a chiropractor or RMT to discuss treatment for TMJ pain or TMD, give us a call today!

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