The TMJ is the joint between the jaw or mandible and the temporal bone of the skull (hence temporomandibular joint). It is one of the most mobile and complex joints in the body. So complex, in fact, that it's called a ginglymoarthrodial joint. Say that three times fast... Needless to say, its complexity often leads to dysfunction. If you've got pain in the jaw or face, popping or clicking during chewing, limitation of jaw movement, and even headaches/migraines then you know exactly what I'm talking about. The NIH suggest that 10 million of my fellow Americans are affected by problems in this area.
Today's article will discuss two ways you can help yourself with any TMD troubles and then I'm gonna prod you to come let us help you.
First, poor posture is a huge instigator and perpetuater of jaw and face problems. If someone has told you to "sit up straight" or "stand up straight" more than once, take their word for it. Best two pieces of advice I can give you is get a foam roller and use it to loosen up your middle back, then touch every headrest you can find with the back of your head. Be obsessive about it, to the point you feel weird if your head doesn't have a headrest. Watch your sitting posture change over time and maybe even greatly relieve your TMD trouble.
Second, STOP GRINDING YOUR TEETH. Many more people than realize it are grinders or bruxers, if you want to learn a cool new word. There are many causes of teeth grinding, but in my experience, the #1 cause is between your ears, your brain. Stress can cause it, anxiety can cause it, or even believing a certain lie can cause it. If it's stress or anxiety, I've got two words "Jesus" (the real Jesus, the one that willingly died on a cross for me and you) and "Counseling". If not, I'll let you in on a lie you may have taught yourself...your teeth are not supposed to fit together perfectly. Don't try all day long to do so. Normal resting jaw posture is lips closed, teeth open, tongue as a relaxed spacer. Make it a priority to stop clinching or grinding all day long and even you night time clinchers will wake up feeling better.
If you have TMD and your TMJ disc is the cause, I won't have to prod you to come see us, pain will do that job. If you have a sore jaw, face, headaches or popping when you open or close, let me encourage you. We help people with TMD all the time. There is hope, but don't wait too long, as the jaw can get arthritic when you know there is a problem and put off getting it fixed. The jaw and surrounding soft tissues (muscles, ligaments and nerves) are just like the neck, back, shoulder, etc., they have to be treated with a specific diagnosis and specific treatment, which is our specialty.
If you're having trouble, try these two strategies I've mentioned for 2-4 weeks. If you're not 50% better, give us a call at Cumberland Chiropractic and Sports Medicine where We Get You Better Faster. We'd love to help and you'll be so glad you did! Thanks for reading!