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tmjchiroAre you experiencing headaches, ringing in the ears, difficulty chewing, or sinus congestion and ear infections? Then there’s a chance that your temporal-mandibular joint (TMJ)—where your jaw makes contact and connects with your skull—is not functioning properly. When you think of TMJ you think of the dentist, right? Though visiting the dentist is a reasonable thing to do when you have jaw pain, physical medicine specialists are trained in identifying and modifying abnormalities of the body, and seeking chiropractic care for TMJ pain is highly effective.

TMJ disorders describe problems with the muscles and joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. This condition occurs because of arthritis, injury to the jaw, injury to the muscles surrounding the jaw, clenching or grinding the teeth, a dislocation of surrounding joints, or stress.

When the TMJ is not functioning correctly, patients experience acute pain and discomfort that may last weeks or years. Symptoms include: limited ability to open the mouth wide, pain and tenderness in the jaw and face, clicking or popping sounds while chewing, difficulty chewing and swelling (on one or both sides of the face).

With their vast knowledge of the spine, neck and cranial areas, physical medicine specialists are able to treat TMJ with non-invasive, successful techniques. So instead of merely treating the symptoms—with pain medication, a mouth guard, or teeth braces—physical medicine care offers a more comprehensive solution.

Injuries to both the lower and upper part of the spine can contribute to TMJ, so chiropractic adjustments are necessary to regain and ensure proper spinal alignment. Through highly skilled cranial adjustments, physical medicine providers are able to realign the TMJ and decrease painful inflammation. By restoring structural balance to the body, physical medicine experts are able to eliminate the painful symptoms common with TMJ dysfunction.

Since often injury or stress causes TMJ dysfunction, a physical medicine specialist may recommend physical therapy exercises and massage therapy sessions to both strengthen and elongate muscles. Relaxing shoulder and neck muscles is also extremely beneficial in alleviating TMJ disorders.