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Relieve TMD pain with chiropractic treatment

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) poses a complex challenge, manifesting as pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles. Learn more about its causes, symptoms, and treatment options, especially the transformative role of chiropractic care.

What are TMJ and TMD?

  • TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. TMJs are the two joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull, located in front of each ear. They are intricate joints, blending hinge and sliding motions. Their bone parts are cushioned by cartilage and a shock-absorbing disk. 
  • TMD stands for temporomandibular disorders. Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are a group of more than 30 conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement.

“TMDs” refers to the disorders, and “TMJ” refers only to the temporomandibular joint itself. 

Common causes of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) include:

  • Bruxism: Grinding or clenching the teeth, often during sleep, can put excessive pressure on the TMJ.
  • Jaw injury: Trauma to the jaw, such as from a blow or accident, can damage the TMJ and surrounding structures.
  • Stress: Emotional or psychological stress can lead to muscle tension in the jaw, contributing to TMD symptoms.
  • Malocclusion: Misalignment of the teeth or jaw can affect the way the TMJ functions, leading to TMD symptoms.
  • Arthritis: Various forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, can affect the TMJ and cause pain and inflammation.

Are you suffering from TMD? Signs and symptoms of TMD include:

  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds when opening or closing the mouth
  • Facial/jaw pain
  • Limited jaw function
  • Frequent headaches
  • Ear pain, from a dull ache to sharp, searing pain
  • Neck and/or shoulder pain with or without muscle spasm, and reduced flexibility 

Treating TMJ can be tricky because oftentimes the cause is subconscious (grinding at night, during the day) or partially due to an old injury. While at-home care can relieve symptoms, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor or dentist specializing in TMD, to determine the most appropriate course of treatment for your specific situation.

Treating TMD at Hosmer Chiropractic Health

At Hosmer Chiropractic Health, we address temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) comprehensively. Our chiropractors focus on the entire area surrounding the TMJ, aiming to relax muscles and alleviate pain. Our approach encompasses:

  • Muscle relaxation and massage: We target both the painful, tight external muscles (masseter, etc.) and the intraoral muscles (pterygoids) to improve jaw movement and chewing function.
  • TMJ Joint Capsule treatment: Unlike some treatments that solely target muscles, we also address the TMJ joint capsule, a critical structure often overlooked in TMD therapy.
  • Manipulation of the TMJ: Our chiropractors may perform Chiropractic Manipulative Treatment (CMT) to manipulate the TMJ itself, addressing misalignments or dysfunctions contributing to TMD symptoms.
  • Class IV laser treatment involves using a high-powered therapeutic laser to target the affected areas around the TMJ. This treatment aims to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and promote healing by delivering concentrated light energy to the tissues. By enhancing blood flow and cellular repair processes, Class IV laser therapy can help improve jaw mobility and alleviate symptoms associated with TMD.

Other ways to find relief from TMD pain

  • Apply heat or ice packs: Use heat or ice packs to ease pain and reduce swelling. Alternate between them for relief.
  • Avoid hard or chewy foods: Opt for softer foods to lessen strain on the jaw joint. Skip chewing gum and hard candies, which can worsen symptoms.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Incorporate deep breathing, meditation, or yoga into your routine to reduce stress and muscle tension.
  • Use over-the-counter pain relievers: Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage TMD-related pain and inflammation. 
  • Use a mouthguard: If teeth grinding is a factor, wearing a mouthguard at night can protect teeth and ease jaw tension.
  • Avoid excessive jaw movements: Minimize activities like wide yawning or loud singing that strain the jaw, to prevent worsening TMD symptoms.
  • Try self-massage: Gently massage the muscles around the jaw to alleviate tension and improve blood flow. Use your fingertips to apply gentle pressure in circular motions, focusing on areas of tightness or discomfort. This can help reduce muscle stiffness and promote relaxation in the jaw region.
  • CBD ointment: Applying CBD ointment to the jaw area may help alleviate TMD pain and inflammation.
  • Try Botox injections. They can offer much-needed relief for TMD by temporarily paralyzing or relaxing the jaw muscles, reducing tension, and alleviating pain. (In Portland, we recommend Aura Aesthetics.)

Contact us to ask questions or make an appointment online.