What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. There is one on each side of your face, in front of each ear.
You may have heard of lockjaw? It is a term used to describe difficulty in being able to open or close your mouth. Often associated with some tenderness or deep aching, your jaw clicking when you eat or open your mouth, headaches and facial pain.
It can be seriously paintful and triggered by a number of things. Stress is a strong cause to inflammation of your TMJ. When stressed and awake we often hold/clench our jaw, neck and head quite intensely. When asleep this may manifest itself in jaw clenching, and teeth grinding.
Osteoarthritis is another reason you may experience inflammation.
Unfortunately, even a visit to the dentist can trigger TMJ disease. Why? Because your jaw is hyper extended for a considerable period of time. If you are already stressed and feeling the symptoms, a dental visit can send you to the next level. That’s not to say that going to the dentist is to blame, just that it *may* exacerbate the condition.
The level of pain associated with TMJ can be life altering and leave you feeling continually grumpy and irritable. Not nice for you, not nice for the people around you.
An Atlas Orthogonal chiropractor will do their initial assessments and adjusting with the AO technique as required. X-rays may also be taken if this is your first visit. They will then attend to your jaw using several non invasive techniques of alignment.
It is the AO treatment of getting your head back onto your spine initially which will start to relieve the pressure in your neck, jaw and head.
Other things that may be required other than stress reduction are
✓ regular AO treatments with your chiropractor to keep your alignment in place and nerves functioning correctly until your body can remember to do this on it’s own.
✓ being fitted for a mouth splint to wear at night (sorry, another trip back to the dentist). This stops teeth grinding and assists in jaw relaxation during sleep, along with opening up the nasal cavity for easier breathing.
✓ facial, head, neck and back massage by a qualified practitioner after a dental visit and before your chiro visit.
✓ cutting out a majority of sugars, caffeine and fake foods especially after 1pm. That way if you do have them, your body has the opportunity to digest and eliminate before sleep.
Image credit. Mayoclinic.org