Skip to content A Balanced Life Workshop 5/19

March 6 is National Dentist Day!

Do you experience pain and/ or clicking in your jaw? This could be a sign that you have irritation at the TMJ or temporomandibular joint. This joint is formed by the temporal bone of the skull and the mandibular bone of the jaw. It is surrounded by the muscles required for chewing, or mastication. Other signs that you may have TMJ dysfunction can include difficulty or pain with chewing, facial pain or tightness, clicking sounds, the joint locking either opened or closed.

There may be a couple reasons why you are be struggling with TMJ pain

 As you can see in the image, there is a disc that should sit where the two bones meet. This disc has an important role during movement of the jaw – it acts as a cushion or shock absorber and allows for smoother gliding of the joint. When this disc slips out of place it can sometimes get stuck behind the joint. If this happens, the joint no longer has the cushion it needs and can result in painful jaw motion.

Another more common cause can be from abnormal postures of the head and neck. Chiropractors have seen an increase in abnormal head and neck postures in recent years, especially with people working from home. Much of this can be attributed to increased screen time, whether it’s the computer, laptop, or cellphone. In a case study done in 2018, a patient presented to a chiropractor with lateral translation of the neck and reported TMJ pain and clicking. The chiropractor performed a thorough exam and assessed the structure of the head and neck with x-ray, posture analysis and palpation. The chiropractor then provided conservative care over a 12-week period utilizing adjustments of the neck and exercises to correct the translation. Complete TMJ pain resolution was achieved following the correction of head and neck posture. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5788785/)

By correcting misalignments, known as subluxations, addressing posture, and providing appropriate home-care/exercises, chiropractic can be a great solution to or complementary therapy for your TMJ issues. In addition to correcting spinal alignment, it can also be beneficial to speak with your dentist about creating a custom fit bite guard that will hold your jaw in proper alignment.

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