Jaw pain? Teeth clenched? Headaches? You may have Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). TMD is a condition affecting the jaw bone where it attaches to the skull just in front of the ear. The most common symptoms of TMD include: jaw pain, ear pain, headaches, popping/clicking while chewing, difficulty opening/closing the mouth, neck pain.
It is estimated that between 85-95% of people will develop some TMD related symptoms in their lifetime with women more often being afflicted than men1. Some of the risk factors which may predispose you to developing TMD include:
Excessive gum chewing
Sleeping without head support
Sleeping on stomach
Bruxism (teeth clenching)
TMD is diagnosed through a thorough history and physical exam of the joints and muscles surrounding the jaw, head, neck and shoulders. Often the jaw pain is not caused by the temporomandibular joint itself but rather is due to the surrounding musculature. Imbalances in the muscles, due to weakness or tightness, on either side of the jaw can affect that joint’s motion resulting in pain.
In many cases, loosening the muscles and joints surrounding the jaw and neck is sufficient to relieve the pain and return normal motion. Your chiropractor can help you accomplish this through manual therapy coupled with patient education on specific stretches and exercises. Sometimes, with more complex cases your dentist and chiropractor work together combining a mouth guard/splint and manual therapy to regain proper jaw function.
To find out more about how your TMD problems can be helped, talk to your dentist and chiropractor. You can contact us at Clear Path Chiropractic Health Centre – Guelph’s chiropractors to help you feel better and stay well.
Note: This article is for information purposes only. Consult your healthcare provider prior to starting any changes to your health routine.