The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge that allows you to move your bottom jaw. If you develop TMJ pain, contact One Life Chiropractic in Katy, Texas, for an expert evaluation. Dedicated chiropractors Nathan D. Gomez, DC, and Brian Riggs, DC, determine the causes of your TMJ disorder and provide effective, noninvasive treatments to relieve your symptoms. Call One Life Chiropractic or request an appointment online today to benefit from TMJ pain relief.

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What is the TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) links your upper and lower jaws, enabling you to open your mouth, chew, and speak. You have one on each side of your face, just by your ear.

Problems with this joint are known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD). TMD affects the jaw muscles and nerves as well as the TMJ, often causing chronic facial pain.

What causes TMJ pain?

Arthritis — typically osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis — can cause TMJ pain. Jaw dislocation (where the TMJ separates) and disc displacement, where the cartilage cushioning the area between the jawbone head and your skull becomes misaligned, can lead to TMJ pain. Another cause is injuries to the rounded end of your jaw bone (the condyle).

Myofascial pain is the most common TMJ problem. It results from inflammation in the fascia, the connective tissue covering all your muscles. Myofascial pain can spread into the neck and shoulder muscles as well as the TMJ. Muscle tension from stress can cause myofascial pain.

You might develop TMJ pain because of excessive strain on the joints and muscles controlling chewing and speech. This often results from bruxism, repeated involuntary jaw clenching, and/or teeth grinding. People with the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia are also more likely to have TMD.

What are the symptoms of TMJ problems?

The most common symptoms of TMJ disorders are:

  • Jaw soreness and pain
  • Headaches
  • Jaw clicking or popping
  • Jaw locking
  • Reduced range of mouth motion
  • Pain behind the eyes or face
  • Shoulder, neck, and/or back pain
  • Earache
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Teeth clenching
  • Dizziness
  • Teeth sensitivity
  • Numbness or tingling

You might also notice your upper and lower teeth come together differently.

Treating TMJ pain successfully requires an accurate diagnosis. Your One Life Chiropractic provider conducts a thorough physical exam, finds out about your symptoms and how the pain started, and reviews your medical history. You may need X-rays, an ultrasound scan, CT, or MRI to confirm a diagnosis and assess the damage.

What treatments help with TMJ pain?

Treatments that could feature in your program include:

  • Resting the TMJ
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Mouth guards for patients with bruxism
  • Physical therapy
  • Posture training
  • Heat and ice
  • Lumbar decompression
  • Manual manipulation
  • ArthroStim®
  • Laser therapy
  • Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy
  • Cupping
  • Instrument-assisted Graston technique®

Your provider customizes your treatment plan to reflect the cause of your TMJ pain, its severity, your age, and other health problems.

Call One Life Chiropractic for expert TMJ pain diagnosis and treatment, or request an appointment online today.