Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are the number one cause of orofacial pain. Jaw pain, earaches, headaches, or neck pain are common symptoms of TMD. TMD is an umbrella term that describes a number of different conditions all with the same primary symptom: jaw pain.
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. TMD, on the other hand, stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. The distinction between the two is merely that TMJ denotes the joint itself while TMD indicates disorders characterized by inflammation or misalignment of the TMJs.
The jaw bone is connected to your skull by the temporomandibular joints located on each side of your head just in front of your ears. Jaw muscles are attached to these bones allowing you to open and close your mouth as well as talk and eat. The ligaments that hold these joints together gradually wear out causing inflammation and pain which can eventually lead to arthritis if left untreated.
Symptoms may include pain or tenderness in or around one or both jaws with varying degrees of severity. Other symptoms may include earaches, tightness in your face, headaches, neck pain, clicking sensation when opening mouth wide, and muscular cramps.
The primary cause of TMD is a muscle fault, so-called “trigger points”. The jaw cannot move without muscles. The jaw muscles have two origins and attach to the jawbone on each side, which moves the jaw front-back and sideways. There are many different things that can cause TMD, including teeth grinding, poor posture, stress, injury, infection, arthritis, or other conditions.
Jaw problems are caused by overuse of jaw muscles, misalignment of teeth, teeth grinding or clenching, as well as poor posture, and stress. While grinding and clenching your teeth can be primary factors, there can also be many secondary factors related to jaw pain, including jaw malocclusion (when your upper and lower teeth don’t meet properly), poor dental hygiene, stressful lifestyle, poor posture, jaw injury or trauma, aging bones and muscles, and bruxism (grinding of the teeth). Jaw pain that lasts only momentarily after eating or opening the mouth wide for instance may indicate a temporary problem, such as TMD that has gone into spasm or locked jaw position termed “trismus”.
Look for a chiropractor that uses the diversified treatment style because it is evidence-based. You should be cautious of practitioners that overpromise or claim that they can cure serious illnesses. Chiropractors can provide a lot of benefits, but they cannot cure diseases.
How old do you need to be old to see a chiropractor?
Any age can benefit from chiropractic care. Babies, toddlers, and newborns can receive treatment for conditions. Babies can experience torticollis or a spasm in the sternocleidomastoid muscle that mothers notice during breastfeeding when a child can’t turn their neck. Children, adults, and seniors can benefit from chiropractic care.
Depending on the practitioner, chiropractic appointments last anywhere from eight minutes to an hour. For Dr. Joshua Konu at Human Integrated Performance he likes to have a minimum of 15 minutes. That gives enough time to do a reassessment and also to provide thorough treatment. For individuals with more than one problem, a 30-minute appointment or an extended appointment will allow enough time to treat multiple areas.
You can exercise right after seeing a chiropractor but keep in mind that your body might be hypermobile. For example, if you are doing sprints after an adjustment on your hips, your joints will be hypermobile. After 24 hours, you should be good to return to vigorous exercise, but keep it to low-impact exercise in the first 24 hours.
After an assessment, a chiropractor will find an area that’s locked up. Now, what most chiropractors do is adjust in extension and rotation. What Dr. Joshua Konu at Human Integrated Performance does is flexion and rotation to reduce any detrimental effects. Rotate the area that’s locked up and apply a high-velocity, low amplitude force to the area.