For some of us, when we are not are talking or eating, we are moving our mouths in another way...which isn't very helpful and often times is happening without you knowing. I am referring to people who GRIND or CLENCH their jaws at night...and this can often lead to happily wealthy dentists and unhappy clients.
The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) or commonly referred to as the jaw, is a hinge joint and is one of the most complex joints in the body. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, cartilage and bones from working as it should is called TMJ Disorder or Dysfunction and forms a common presentation to our chiropractic offices. Why would someone with Jaw Pain walk into our office? Some of the most common TMJ dysfunction symptoms include:
>> Headaches /migraines, earaches, and pain and pressure behind the eyes
>> Upper neck, lower neck and upper back tension and pain
>> A clicking or popping sound when you open or close your mouth (with or without pain)
>> Tenderness of the jaw muscles
Often times, I have found patients are excessively grinding their teeth at night BUT present with ongoing headaches or neck pain. Often, these patients are not aware that they are doing so. There are numerous reasons as to why this occurs, so usually appropriate care is co-ordinated between myself, dentist and other allied healthcare professionals to address all aspects of the problem, including physical and/or mental/emotional.
Some simple treatment steps to help:
>> See your dentist for a full evaluation - if evidence of grinding is an issue, they may arrange a night splint mouth-guard to prevent any further damage to your teeth
>> Apply low-grade heat to the tense areas
>> Chiropractic Adjustments + Muscle Release Techniques - structures in the neck can be a causative factor in jaw pain
>> Self-Management Exercises - simple contract / relax exercises using your hand as resistance can help ease the tension - we recommend gently massaging your temples and side of the jaw joint with 2 fingers working each point for 1 minute prior to going to sleep
>> Meditation (particularly before bedtime) and Relaxation Techniques - Find Some easy meditation HERE & go deeper HERE
It is important to identify all possible links when dealing with TMJ Dysfunction. If you or someone you know is suffering, arrange to have a consultation today to determine if chiropractic can help. BOOK HERE
This Article has been presented by Dr. Mario R Ferraro - Chiropractor
Caroline Springs & Essendon Fields
This article is for general information purposes only & does not form full medical diagnosis and treatment. If you are experiencing pain, a proper consultation with you health care provider should be performed.