Jaw Pain and Chiropractic
Contrary to the common belief, jaw pain is often due to a host of problems related to a complex joint called the “temporomandibular joint.” The temporomandibular joint (better known as the TMJ) is a complex joint located just in front of the ears. The joint connects the jaw to the skull. This connection is a specialized series of ligaments and an articular disc. Dysfunction in any of the bony surfaces, the ligaments, muscles or the articular disc will lead to a malfunction.
The problem or symptom associated with this joint vary and could produce pain of varying severity with or without a “clicking” sound. Sometimes, our patients tell us that they used to have a clicking sound, but since the onset of pain, the clicking sound has disappeared. These symptoms (clicking and pain with jaw movements) occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles (muscles of mastication) do not work together correctly.
In our centers, our chiropractors and physiotherapists will collaborate closely with one another to identify the source of your problem and to correct it. Our collaborative methods of TMJ (Jaw) therapy is unique. It is unique as it involves two of the best suited therapeutic fields: Chiropractic and Physiotherapy. Early detection and treatment are critical as some forms of TMJ problems could lead to more severe conditions.
The most important thing for a patient with jaw pain (TMJ pain) to know is that they need to be patient. Treatments take time. There are no magic bullets or magic potions that one can adopt to make everything all right. Our chiropractors in Malaysia are backed by the best clinical teams of physiotherapists who utilize their hands on skills and some specific therapeutic machines to help control the condition.
Why did I get Jaw pain?
TMJ disorders (Jaw Pain) develop for many reasons. It is either related directly to the jaw joint or when neck issues arise involving muscles of the neck. The neck and the jaw are closely linked, and as such, there are times when neck pain leads to jaw pain. Also, the opposite can be true and hence, a jaw problem can lead to neck pain. The most common neck issues causing jaw pain is a slipped disc, bulging discs, herniated discs, degenerated discs and even cervical spondylosis. Our Clinical teams of Chiropractors and physiotherapists will jointly test your neck as well as your jaw.
Our goal is to treat and fix the cause along with any associated disorders. Once, we have accomplished this; your pain should disappear and never come back again.You might be clenching or grinding your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles too much or, too often every time you get stressed! Also, the jaw pain you have today can be the result of an old injury. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to a fall or a punch. Even going to a dentist and having your mouth open for too long can lead to a TMJ problem. For some, it may even be a medical procedure, such as an endoscopy.
On the other hand, when the pain is due to the jaw joint the goal is to correct the jaw issues.
However, we will check your neck to make sure that the jaw disorder has not caused malfunction at the neck joint. Jaw pain is often due to habits or medical procedures. Dental work and scopes are the standard medical related causes of jaw pain. To a lesser degree, the cause may be the result of posture or habits. A good example of bad habits is slouching over your cell phone or an iPad. In both these instances, the neck bones and muscles are the cause of jaw pain. So, do mind all that texting. Not only will give you neck pain, spondylosis, slipped disc, it can also give you jaw pain.
You might be clenching or grinding your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles too much or, too often every time you get stressed! Also, the jaw pain you have today can be the result of an old injury. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to a fall or a punch. Even going to a dentist and having your mouth open for too long can lead to a TMJ problem. Rest assured, regardless of the cause, our Chiropractors and Physiotherapists have the skills and technology to get rid of your jaw pain. Call our center to learn more about our collaborative TMJ (jaw) pain treatments.
An injury can cause damage or at least irritate the muscles and ligaments of the jaw joint.
With severe jaw injury or a neglected jaw pain, may progress, involving the articular disc of the jaw joint. The articular disc is cartilaginous structures that cushion the jaw joint. An articular disc can slip out of position and cause pain and clicking. Our methods of care have proven helpful in treatments of jaw pain that resulting for an articular disc. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking, or grating noise when you open your mouth or trouble opening your mouth wide. So, visit us to start feeling better. If you have jaw pain, we can help.
How do I know if I have a TMJ disorder?
This is one of the more common questions put to our chiropractors and physiotherapists. Here are some things to watch out for:
- Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth
- Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws
- Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches
- Pain get worse when you clench your teeth
- Stress make your clenching and pain worse
- Your jaw click, pop or catch when you open your mouth
- Your jaw locks when you open your mouth
- It is difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat, or yawn
- Have you ever injured your neck, head, or jaws
- Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints
- Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite
- Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food
- Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn
The more times you answered “yes,” the more likely it is that you have a TMJ disorder. Understanding TMJ disorders will also help you with a speedy recovery
In our offices, there are various non-surgical treatment options available for you. The goal of therapy is to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, our doctors of chiropractic and our expert physiotherapists will determine the proper course of an appropriate treatment specific to your condition. In our office, the care you receive is through a collaborated method. In other words, you get care from our chiropractors as well as from our physiotherapists. We are the non-surgical experts you need. Now, it is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach. What we mean by this is that you need to work with us. TMJ problems are not easy to solve. We need our patients to be active participants in the course of their care.
What are the goals of treatments?
Simply put, the goal is to get you out of pain as quickly as possible. Our initial goal is to lessen and relieve your pain as soon as possible. Our chiropractors and physiotherapists do this by stabilizing your jaw joint. The therapy or treatments you get from us are non-invasive and non-surgical. For some that have excruciating pain, we may refer them for some medication. We do not prescribe drugs, therefore; we will have to refer you one of the general practitioner or a dentist for mediation. But, yet in most cases, we do not recommend medication. We will recommend a dentist or a specialist that can prescribe some pain relieving medication for you. However, most of the time this is not necessary.
We always try to solve our patient’s condition without the need for drugs or invasive procedures. TMJ pain and disorder is a mechanical condition, which is best suited for physiotherapy and chiropractic care. In addition to the care you get from our chiropractors and physiotherapists, we may also recommend some self-care for you. Self-care treatments can often be effective as well and include:
- Resting your jaw
- No gum chewing
- No biting into an apple or a pear
- Smaller bites
- Keeping your teeth apart when you are not swallowing or eating
- Eating soft foods
- Applying ice or heat (rarely)
- Exercising your jaw
- Practicing good posture
We may even recommend a temporary, clear plastic appliance known as a splint.
A splint (or nightguard) fits over your top or bottom teeth and helps keep your teeth apart, thereby relaxing the muscles and reducing pain. Splints are measures that can reduce and even prevent TMJ stresses that often results from grinding your teeth during sleep. You may use them to slow progression of your TMJ disorder. The splint (nightguard) is best in conjunction with our methods of chiropractic and physiotherapy treatments. Our chiropractors will let you know if you can benefit from a splint.
There are different types of night-guards used for various purposes.
A nightguard works by helping you stop the clenching or grinding of your teeth; reducing muscle tension at night and helping protect the cartilage and joint surfaces. An anterior or forwardly positioned night-guard will help with moving your jaw forward and may aid in disc repositioning. Even though we are not big fans of wearing nightguard, there are times when it is helpful. Often, we start the therapy without a night-guard, recommending it when it is necessary. Wear the nightguard during night, while you sleep.
Aside from a night-guard, there are other forms of appliances worn 24 hours a day. We advise all our patients against the 24 hours/day devices unless of course there is a fractured jaw joint. If there is no evidence of a severely acute traumatic condition, we recommend that you avoid wearing the 24 hour/day mouth appliances, for they may further complicate recovery. It is for this reason why we advise against them.
We always recommend that you should never depend on an appliance alone. There might be a need for a Nightguard (in rare cases), but therapy should is a necessity for all jaw pain patients. Wearing a Nightguard can decrease the stress you subconsciously place on your jaw joints as you grind unknowing (Bruxism). Chiropractic Specialty Centers have treated many TMJ disorders successfully without the need for night-guards, medication, injections or surgery. Our success speaks for itself. Visit us in one of our many centers and start smiling again. Life is too short to live with jaw pain.