June 23, 2022 · 4 min
The jaw is a very used joint for basic day-to-day activities like talking, eating, and drinking. Hence when jaw pain arises it can be more than a nuisance. Jaw pain affects 5-12% of the general population, affecting women more than men. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) is a blanket term used for jaw pain and dysfunction by problems with the joint or its associated musculature.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is composed of the temporal bone (the upper joint) and mandibular bone (the lower joint) separated by the disc. Opening biomechanics includes the lower joint hinging and the upper joint sliding together. Jaw movement involves various muscles including the temporalis, masseter, medial and lateral pterygoids. These are known as the muscles of mastication (chewing). When the muscles are dysfunctional this can prevent the movement of the jaw in a coordinated fashion.
TMD can be one-sided or two-sided. Pain referral sites may include the teeth, temple, ears, sinus areas, side of the neck, upper shoulder region, headaches around and behind the eyes known as “tension-type headaches,” and pain radiating around the TMJ itself.
TMJ disorder can be caused by:
- The muscles that control the jaw and the connecting neck and shoulder muscles.
- Direct trauma including head or neck injury.
- Internal disorder of the joint, or a dislocated or displaced disc.
- A degenerative joint disease in the jaw joint, like arthritis.
- Dental problems including clenching and grinding teeth.
When TMD is suspected, a thorough history including medical and dental is done. Physical examination of the TMJ, neck, and surrounding structures is performed including observation, mandibular gait, and special orthopedic tests. Treatment involves specific soft tissue therapy and gentle chiropractic adjustments, rehabilitation, and further education including things to avoid and things to do.
Common TMJ rehab may be prescribed including muscle release and specific jaw opening and strengthening exercises. Lifestyle changes such as avoiding eating chewy and hard foods may be advised as it can be difficult for patients with TMJ as they can add more stress to the affected areas. A health practitioner who is helping you deal with TMJ may request you to not eat certain foods. Patients with TMD should pay attention to any abnormal pressure or triggers on their jaw that may cause soreness from jaw movement.
In addition, activities such as pounding sports (i.e. running, soccer, and basketball), smoking, holding your phone to your cheek, playing the violin, or the use of a CPAP machine are also options to reconsider if you're dealing with TMJ. These may be requested when consulting with your health care provider.
Please consult with your health practitioner for proper diagnosis and treatment and for further referral if needed. We are accepting new patients and are more than happy to help you get relief from your jaw pain with our safe and gentle treatments.
Let us help you with your jaw pain so you can return to your activities pain-free. For a complimentary consultation or any other inquiries give us a call at (604) 496-0626, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or book online.
CCA. (2022, May 25). 3 things you need to know about TMJ pain. Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) - Association chiropratique canadienne. Retrieved June 10, 2022, from https://chiropractic.ca/blog/3-things-you-need-to-know-about-tmj-pain/
Pavia, S., Fischer, R., & Roy, R. (2015). Chiropractic Treatment of Temporomandibular Dysfunction: A Retrospective Case Series. Journal of chiropractic medicine, 14(4), 279–284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcm.2015.08.005
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Prevalence of TMJD and its signs and symptoms. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Retrieved June 10, 2022, from https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/data-statistics/facial-pain/prevalence