Updated: Jan 19
TMJ is a common condition that creates pain and discomfort in the jaw area. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and it covers a range of different conditions that affect jaw muscles, TM joints, and facial nerves. As far as TMJ treatment, there are multiple options available to those who deal with the condition.
Chiropractic care is a wonderful option, because chiropractors can focus on the muscles and jaw joints to make sure everything is functioning correctly. Dr. Mike Hadbavny is a chiropractor Victoria BC who knows TMJ issues well, as he helps many locals with the chiropractic care they need.
What is TMJ
We can also refer to the jaw joints as the TM joints. These joints exist on both sides of the skull, connecting the lower jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. There are muscles within the face that control these joints and allow the jaw to move properly. These muscles are attached to the mandible, which is where the problem lies.
The rounded ends of the mandible slide along the joint socket at the end of the skull when someone opens their mouth. When the mouth closes, the mandible slides back into its original position. This is what can create the popping sound that many people associate with TMJ pain.
There are many different factors that can lead to someone developing a TMJ condition. Among the most common are:
● Degenerative joint diseases
● Injury/trauma to the jaw
● Teeth grinding
● Tight muscles
● Alignment issues
There are over 3 million cases of TMJ reported in the United States per year, making it a very common condition. Unfortunately, many people who are dealing with discomfort from TMJ don’t realize that it is something a chiropractor can help with.
If you are worried that you are dealing with TMJ, there are some common symptoms that you should look out for. Among those are jaw pain and soreness, neck pain, pain around the ears, difficulty chewing or biting, popping noises when opening or closing the mouth, and jaw stiffness.
How Chiropractic Treatment Can Help With TMJ
Chiropractors can prove to be an effective treatment option for those dealing with TMJ pain. Here are some of the ways that chiropractors can help you with your jaw discomfort.
Combatting Jaw Pain with Soft Tissue Work
Chiropractors can target three key muscles that are involved with the jaw, which include the temporalis, the masseter, and the pterygoid. This is the first step when treating TMJ with a chiropractor.
Let’s start with the temporalis. The temporalis is a wider muscle, but it is also a thinner muscle. Chiropractors can work on it using finger pads, and considering it is a wider muscle, it will take up to four finger pads. Additionally, since the muscle is more thin, it will take a more gentle technique. The exercise involves pressing the fingers up flat against the jaw, then up to put pressure on the muscle, and open and close the mouth.
The masseter’s required treatment is similar to that of the temporalis. This muscle isn’t as wide as the temporalis, so it will probably only require fingers to do the exercise. It also isn’t as thin, so a little more pressure can be applied.
The treatment for the pterygoid is where things get a little bit more complicated. Pterygoid release requires leverage between the cheek and the teeth. It is also a little more uncomfortable to work on this soft tissue, because it is not as strong as the other two muscles we mentioned.
Assess and Adjust the Jaw
Following the soft tissue work, it’s time to assess and adjust the jaw. Initially, it is important to feel the jaw and see which side opens last, or how the jaw is aligned when opening. This helps the chiropractor decide which side to work on first.
The side which is adjusted first, and then the other side after. Adjustments are made with a slight pushing motion. After adjustments, chiropractors will reassess the jaw to determine if the jaw joint is realigned, or opening more evenly.
Other Solutions to Help With TMJ Pain
Along with seeing a chiropractor for TMJ treatment, there are other things that you can do yourself to help ease the burden of the jaw condition. Here are some simple strategies you can integrate into your life to help with TMJ.
One solution that’s easy to understand and is also one of the most important is to eat soft foods. TMJ can make chewing more difficult and uncomfortable, so soft foods are your friend if TMJ is getting in the way when eating.
Using ice packs on your jaw muscles can help relieve any pain caused by TMJ. While it won’t necessarily help fix the problem, it is something you should keep in mind to help fight discomfort.
Relaxing your face and jaw muscles can help you cope with any TMJ symptoms. Try to reduce stress, avoid clenching your jaw muscles, and give yourself gentle massages in the area to help relax.
Last but not least, avoid any extreme jaw movements. Until you see a chiropractor to help treat your TMJ, you should avoid aggravating your jaw as much as possible.
So while we recommend seeing a chiropractor to treat TMJ, there are also some things that you can control that will make a difference. The best way to combat TMJ pain is a combination of seeing a chiropractor for treatment and doing whatever is in your control to ease any discomfort.
Chiropractic Treatment for TMJ in Victoria, BC
The bottom line is that seeing a chiropractor for TMJ treatment absolutely helps those who have the condition. If you are seeking chiropractic treatment in Victoria, BC, Dr. Mike Hadbavny is here for you. Dr. Mike Hadbavny graduated from Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and received a bachelor's degree in physical education from Brock University. He currently works with many professional, and national level athletes within the Greater Victoria area.
So don’t let TMJ pain and discomfort get in the way of your life, see your local chiropractor Dr. Mike Hadbavny in Victoria BC today.