Chiropractic & Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (Jaw & Face Pain)

TMJ Dysfunction is a condition that occurs when the temporomandibular joint malfunctions or is misaligned in some way that subjects it to abnormal pressure.

If you place your fingers in front of either ear and wiggle your jaw, you’ll feel an opening timg_1313023473_14981_1316054887_mod_112_160hat changes shape beneath your fingers.  The opening you can feel is situated at the joint where the temporal bone of your skull attaches to your jaw (mandible), the joint is called the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. This fascinating joint connects our jaw to our skull, with ligaments, cartilage, fascia, an articular disc, muscles, nerves, blood vessels and many kinds of tissues running in, around and through the area.

The most common symptoms of TMJ dysfunction are aching around the joint, clicking or popping when the mouth opens or closes or an inability to open the mouth wide.  Other symptoms of TMJ are more severe and debilitating headaches, loss of hearing, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), facial swelling, shoulder, cheek or jaw pain, neck ache, loss of hearing or fullness in the ears, pain in or under the ear or eye, or upon swallowing, nausea, tooth pain, pain on eating, migraine, blurred vision and dizziness

.A properly aligned and functioning spine helps the Temporomandibular joint.  Spinal and TMJ problems are often found together.

Chiropractic care, especially in the area of the neck (cervical spine), often alleviates nerve system interference.  It is this nerve system interference which may generate or maintain head and TMJ pain and problems.  Here at Health plus Chiropractic we’ve been focusing on the management of TMJ dysfunction for over 25 years.

Most headaches and pains come from the joints and muscles in the head and neck.  Once the importance of the neck muscles is realised, the more easily the connection is seen between the neck, jaw and teeth.  Teeth therefore have a relationship to posture.

Our chiropractic approach is to identify the sources of malfunction, whether it is in the jaw, the neck, or lower body, and therefore adjust the spinal subluxations and treat myofascial trigger points in the muscles.  Often we see these painful points develop in jaw muscles, especially when someone grinds or clenches their teeth.  In addition to treating their symptomatic muscles, we look for other causes of their problems, – stress, oral or postural habit and then give advice to manage these.  Cranial adjustments are made and sometimes nutritional support is indicated.

In addition to the chiropractic approach, some cases benefit from dedicated massage therapy and this may include specialised techniques such as Indian Head Massage.

See also our Case Studies page on a TMJ case


See also massage and Headaches: