Treatment for TMJ/Jaw pain in Cardiff
A video demonstration of TMJ dysfunction
What is TMJ pain/Syndrome and what are the symptoms?
The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is an important joint that connects the jaw to the skull. It is a synovial joint that can move forward, back, left, right, and up and down. We need it for multiple functions such as speaking, chewing food, and breathing. Multiple muscles attach to different areas in the jaw to allow movement. There are also tendons and ligaments to create structure and stability. TMJ pain means simply, pain arising from the jaw. Sometimes it can feel like a dull ache, sometimes likened to a toothache, it can click sometimes being painful and other times not. Pain can be sharp and acute or some people may experience a mixture of symptoms. After many years of treating the TMJ, I have found headaches can be caused by the TMJ too along with facial pain. TMJ pain can be short-lived lived but for many, it can be a longer-term issue and pain can become chronic. It is important to perform a thorough case history and examination to rule out similar conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia.
What causes TMJ pain?
In most cases, jaw/teeth grinding causes tmj pain. The constant clenching of the jaw muscle can create enough tension to cause pain. Often teeth grinding (bruxism) is associated with stress. Another cause is malalignment when the lower jaw (the mandible) is either too far forward (underbite) or the mandible, is too far back (underbite). Faulty jaw mechanics can put pressure on the joint and surrounding structures. Clicking is caused buy a small disc-like structure in the joint itself, the cause is often a tight muscle attached to it. This tightness can make the disc become displaced. Trauma is another cause, often pain is not felt till some time after the injury.
How can Chiropractic help with TMJ pain?
We first take a full medical history on lifestyle, any injuries, dental history, and medication. This alone gives us a good indication of the cause of pain. We then perform an examination of the head, neck, and jaw. This in most cases gives us an accurate diagnosis where can can formulate a treatment plan and help, you the patient. If we think something else is going on, then we refer to a GP or dentist.
What are the benefits of chiropractic care?
The benefits are finding the cause to your pain, understanding more about it, reducing pain, and preventing further pain in the future. People always feel relaxed after the session and feel different, but in a good way.
How long does it take to feel better?
On average 4-6 sessions improved the issue greatly, along with home exercises and lifestyle modification. It’s very hard to just stop grinding your teeth, so techniques are given to help relax bad habits. Treatment involves working on the muscles of the jaw, and improving joint mechanics. acupuncture, facial massage, and joint manipulation of the upper vertebrae of the neck. Also advice on sleeping positions and breathing. We have found open mouth breathers rather than nose breathers have a higher rate of jaw pain.
Do i need to be referred to see a chiropractor?
You do not need to be referred to see a chiropractor. We are licensed under the GCC (General Chiropractic Council).
How can i book an appointment with Corbin Chiropractic?
Simply click the box at the top to go straight to the online diary and pick an initial consultation
Self Care (for our current patients only)
The current video will go through the best exercises, stretches and movements. Like with any new exercise, start gently and build up as time goes on. A great time to do this routine is in the morning and in the evening. Many people with TMJ issues grind their teeth while sleeping (bruxism). This can leave the jaw tired, headaches, achy and annoyed in the morning. In the video is a breathing exercise that really helps for relaxation. It is normal to feel a little sore the first few treatments so you can wait a day after the first treatment before starting these exercises.
How to stop grinding teeth at night?
A tricky one! A mouth shield helps to prevent tooth erosion but the muscles and the TMJ is still working overtime. But here are the best strategies:
1. Stress Reduction: Since stress can often be a major cause of teeth grinding, engaging in stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, or any relaxing hobbies can be beneficial.
2. Mouth Guard: Using a mouth guard or dental splint at night can prevent teeth grinding. These are often custom-made by dentists to fit your mouth but over-the-counter options are also available.
3. Avoid Certain Substances: Reducing or avoiding the intake of caffeine and alcohol, which can increase the likelihood of grinding, especially before bedtime, can help.
4. Conscious Jaw Relaxation: Practice relaxing your jaw during the day. Be mindful of clenching or grinding during waking hours and try to keep your jaw in a neutral, relaxed position.
5. Physical Therapy: Exercises to relax and strengthen the jaw muscles can be helpful. A physical therapist or dentist can provide specific exercises.
6. Proper Alignment: Ensure your sleeping position is conducive to muscle relaxation. Sleeping on your back is often recommended to reduce strain on the face and jaw.
7. Biofeedback: For severe cases, biofeedback techniques can help you gain awareness and control over jaw-clenching or grinding habits.
8. Dental Check-Up: Regular dental visits are important. A dentist can monitor the wear on your teeth and provide guidance or interventions.
9. Chiropractic of course!