The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint that connects your jaw bone, or mandible, to the temporal bones of your skull. Problems with your jaw and the muscles that control it are properly known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD), however, you may hear it referred to simply as TMJ. It may be caused by an incident like whiplash from a car accident or a heavy blow to the jaw, face or neck. However, it can also be caused by grinding your teeth at night, chewing gum excessively, or stress which may cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench your teeth.
Temporomandibular disorder often causes severe pain and discomfort in the face, jaw, neck or shoulders which might be temporary or last years. It affects women more commonly than men, and especially those between the ages of 20-40. TMD may present as a clicking or popping sound in the joint when opening or closing the jaw. TMJ issues may also cause your jaw to get stuck in an open or closed position, headaches, earaches, dizziness or ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
At Stabilized Chiropractic, treatment for TMD will consist of soft tissue work around the temporomandibular joint, stretches, exercises (both in the office and at-home), LASER therapy, ShockWave therapy, cryotherapy, and if necessary, osseous adjusting. Adjustments to the jaw, when done properly, can be very safe and effective, however, due to the pain and inflammation usually caused by TMD, they are usually reserved for after the other treatment modalities have calmed the situation down.