TMJ, or temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the lower jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. More common in women than men, there are an estimated 10 million people who suffer from TMJ in the United States today and is the second most common pain-causing musculoskeletal condition today, just after chronic back pain, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Fortunately, the most common TMJ problems are temporary in nature. Unfortunately, TMJ is one of the most elusive and difficult conditions to assess and treat and there is a large need for effective treatments.
Because of the wide ranging symptoms that characterize TMJ, many patients are misdiagnosed and some people live their entire lives with dizziness, headaches, eye pain, shoulder or neck pain and even ear pain without realizing that the root of the problem is TMJ. Some common symptoms to help identify TMJ are:
- Tenderness around the ear or ear pain
- Clenching or grinding sound when opening or closing the mouth
- The inability to open or close the mouth
The causes of TMJ, which occurs when the disc has been displaced or the surrounding tendons and muscles have become inflamed, can be varied as well. Some of the more common causes are:
- Improper bite
- Grinding or clenching of teeth
- Injury to the skull
- Overuse or stress on the jaw
Though widely studied by doctors and researchers, it is the general consensus that there are more studies necessary to find the safest and most effective treatment so care plans are generally conservative in nature. Drugs like ibuprofen and other NSAIDs are commonly prescribed but only serve to temporarily mask symptoms. Some home exercises and remedies are also common with varying degrees of success.
For patients seeking effective treatment that not only alleviates symptoms but also uncovers the root of the problem and works to restore the proper function of the jaw and muscles, Chiropractic Neurology is a favorable option. Typically starting with a complete examination of the spine, the doctor will focus on the upper neck and evaluate the condition of the jaw joint, giving the patient the most comprehensive assessment of the underlying cause of the pain. By establishing treatment plans that are based in both chiropractic and neurological rehabilitation, patients have found excellence results through Chiropractic Neurology care plans.
Although patients with TMJ may experience a reprieve from pain on their own, the pain usually returns and without proper care, can result in long-term problems. If you are suffering from any of the symptoms listed above and would like to learn more about how the non-drug, non-invasive treatments through Chiropractic Neurology can help you, please call Dr Marc Ellis and his team at the Georgia Chiropractic Neurology Center today.