Ever since that car crash last month, you’ve been experiencing jaw pain. You find it hard to open your mouth all the way and you hear clicking and popping sounds when you try. It’s getting old and you really want to be able to take a bite out of a hamburger and chew some gum but your pesky jaw pain refuses to let you.
If this sounds familiar, you might be dealing with a TMJ disorder.
TMJ pain can be annoying and significantly reduce your quality of life but it doesn’t have to be your constant companion.
Maybe you’ve heard that chiropractic care can help relieve TMJ pain. If your browser history is full of searches like “can a chiropractor fix TMJ?” or “how can a chiropractor help with TMJ?”, you can take a deep breath and rest assured that this guide will answer your questions.
Keep reading to find out what to expect and why you should consider chiropractic care for your TMJ pain.
Table of Contents
- Can a Chiropractor Help With TMJ?
- TMJ and Chiropractic Care: What to Expect
- How a Chiropractor Can Help With TMJ
- 7 Potential Benefits of Chiropractic Care for TMJ
- Is Chiropractic Care the Right Treatment for Your TMJ?
- Cascade Spine & Injury: Helping You Experience Relief From TMJ Pain With Professional Chiropractic Care
Can a Chiropractor Help With TMJ?
Chiropractic care can go a long way in helping you recover from TMJ pain.
The TMJ — or temporomandibular joint — is a hinge joint located in the lower jaw. When it experiences stress or is overused, the TMJ can become damaged, leading to pain and difficulty speaking and chewing. Symptoms of a TMJ disorder include:
- Neck pain
- Sore muscles
- Shoulder pain
- Muscle spasms
- Teeth grinding
- Ear pain
- Popping or clicking sounds when you open your mouth
- Numbness and tingling in your hands or arms
- Jaw pain
- Trouble fully opening your mouth
- Tenderness around your jaw
While surgery can be used to treat TMJ, chiropractic care has also proven effective in many cases.
TMJ and Chiropractic Care: What to Expect
While there are specialized chiropractic treatments that can be used for TMJ, that level of care simply isn’t needed in many cases. For many patients, focusing on the spine can help align everything and resolve — or significantly improve — TMJ pain.
At Cascade Spine & Injury Center, TMJ care often looks like your chiropractor working on your spine. In some cases, we also treat TMJ through:
- Massage therapy
- Exercises for the jaw
- Gentle stretches
At your initial appointment, your chiropractor will examine you and create a care plan that combines the best treatment options for your needs.
How a Chiropractor Can Help With TMJ
Your chiropractor will likely use some combination of the following treatments to help you recover from your TMJ pain.
Massage therapy is good for a lot more than just zenning out for an hour.
Chiropractors sometimes use massage therapy to help loosen up the muscles and tendons in your neck. Loosening everything up can help relieve TMJ pain.
One study suggests that the severity of jaw pain — as well as the limited range of motion that often accompanies TMJ disorder — can be alleviated with massage therapy.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to get out your running shoes or try to convince yourself that leg day is fun. These exercises have nothing to do with cardio or self-inflicted humiliation at your local gym.
Chiropractors often recommend specific exercises that can help reduce pain and inflammation in the jaw and surrounding muscles.
One study showed that this treatment is especially helpful for limited jaw mobility linked to TMJ.
What types of exercises are utilized for TMJ? Typically, TMJ is treated with stretching and mobility work. Some exercises include resistance or tongue movements.
Your chiropractor can help you find the exercises likely to best help you.
As Schoolhouse Rock taught us all those years ago, you’ve got a telegraph line running through you connecting everything. Although there are no little guys on bikes carrying messages, your spine is responsible for a lot of the things that happen in your body.
Because they help fix misalignments in the spine and reduce nerve interference, spinal adjustments have been shown to help relieve TMJ issues.
Cascade Spine & Injury is proud to offer chiropractic care designed to help our patients leave injuries behind.
Our chiropractor, Dr. McClaren, has earned accreditation as an Accident Reconstructionist by the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstructionists. He has extensive experience working with auto accident patients to treat conditions — such as TMJ or whiplash — caused by collisions.
7 Potential Benefits of Chiropractic Care for TMJ
When it comes to TMJ and chiropractic care, certain patients are more likely to see positive results.
Chiropractors typically treat traumatic onset TMJ such as TMJ issues resulting from an auto accident. For many patients, persistent pain occurring days, weeks, or months after the accident brings them to their chiropractor.
Can a chiropractor help with TMJ pain? Cascade Spine & Injury Center provides TMJ patients with chiropractic care all the time. We typically see patients who haven’t been suffering for too long and are experiencing symptoms such as:
- Jaw clicks
- Difficulty opening their mouth
- Pain when chewing gum
Even if you’ve been dealing with TMJ for a while, visiting your chiropractor is still a good idea because, while TMJ issues often resolve with time, chiropractic care can still help, even if a good deal of time has elapsed.
#1: Relief From Pain and Discomfort
Chiropractors focus on using manual therapy — which involves adjusting the spine, joints, and other structures in the body — to relieve pain and discomfort. These treatments often help to reduce inflammation and improve general function.
When your spine is out of alignment, you may find that you feel it in multiple parts of your body, not just your back. Chiropractic care helps line everything back up which allows your body to function as it was designed to.
#2: Improved Jaw Function and Movement
When you receive chiropractic care for TMJ, your chiropractor will spend time adjusting and loosening your muscles and tendons.
As your neck and jaw muscles loosen, you are likely to experience enhanced function and mobility in your jaw. Limited jaw mobility can be painful and resolving the issue can help relieve that pain.
#3: Reduced Inflammation and Swelling
Chiropractic adjustments can help to reduce inflammation and swelling in the jaw.
Inflammation and swelling tend to invite pain to their parties and the three like to make their host as miserable as possible. Chiropractic care can help banish them.
#4: Improved Blood Circulation in the Area
Chiropractic care may help improve your blood circulation. Especially in injured areas, blood circulation is essential for healing and pain relief.
Spinal adjustments can help align the spine and keep the blood flowing. Additionally, regular chiropractic care can help keep your spine flexible which helps minimize damage to the spinal cord and other organs in your body.
#5: Improved Oral Health and Overall Well-Being
Chiropractic care can help cover many different bases, including improving oral health and your overall well-being. When you have TMJ issues and find it painful to open your mouth, maintaining oral hygiene can be difficult.
Chiropractic care can help improve your jaw’s range of motion, allowing you to better care for your pearly whites.
Implementing chiropractic care as part of your personal health routine can be beneficial in improving your overall wellness and quality of life because it helps you maintain mobility and reduce pain from inflamed or tense joints and muscles.
#6: Safe and Natural Treatment Option
Chiropractic care is generally a safe treatment option based on natural health. Instead of relying on pain medications or surgeries, chiropractic care works to gently help your body heal itself and function and its best.
As with any type of medical care, you should always make sure you are being treated by a caring professional who is fully trained and certified to provide the care you need.
Many factors such as your …
- Health history, and
- Severity of symptoms
… go into deciding whether or not chiropractic care is for you.
Remember to always consult a qualified health professional regarding your specific case.
#7: Affordable and Convenient Treatment Option
Many patients find that chiropractic care is a more affordable alternative to other TMJ pain treatments.
It can also be a great treatment option to try out before committing to something more invasive or expensive.
Is Chiropractic Care the Right Treatment for Your TMJ?
Your unique situation dictates your best care option. The most important factor for you to consider when deciding whether or not to pursue chiropractic care is your specific situation.
You have care options and it is important to consider all of them.
It is a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional about your specific needs before you make a decision about your treatment options.
TMJ can get worse over time if left untreated. However, thankfully, most people don’t find that delayed treatment creates an issue for healing. Time is often a massive factor when it comes to healing TMJ issues but they may not go away completely without treatment.
Cascade Spine & Injury: Helping You Experience Relief From TMJ Pain With Professional Chiropractic Care
If TMJ pain is keeping you from fully enjoying your life, Cascade Spine & Injury Center can help. We are a multi-disciplinary center, meaning we offer multiple types of care to help you get back to being your best self. From massage therapy to chiropractic, Cascade knows how to help resolve your TMJ issues.
Life without constant jaw pain is possible and Cascade Spine & Injury Center can help you find it. Schedule your appointment today and find your TMJ pain relief.