What is TMJ Pain?
Unless you have experienced TMJ pain, it’s possible that you have never even heard of it. You may also not think a Chiropractor would be managing jaw pain since we typically are known for managing spinal, back, and neck pain or injuries. Structures of the face can also be directly impacted by other areas of the musculoskeletal system.
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain is common for many people, and most will consult a dentist thinking it is tooth related. However, studies have shown that Chiropractic care can be an effective method to relieve TMJ pain.
What is the TMJ?
The TMJ is what connects the skull in front of the ear to the jaw. There are also some muscles that control your chewing that are attached to your lower jaw. This is why some people experience deep inner ear pain followed by an ache in the jaw that can become quite painful.
If you place your fingers in front of the ear and open your mouth, you’ll be able to feel it. TMJ pain is caused by problems that arise in the surrounding structures.
What Can Cause TMJ Problems?
There are a number of things that can cause TMJ pain, the most common being clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth while you sleep. Many people report an increase in TMJ pain when they are feeling unusually stressed.
TMJ can also be caused by:
- Poorly fitted dentures, fillings, or crowns that make your bite uneven
- Mouth trauma or dental surgery
- Disc dislocation
- Rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, or gout
- It could be hereditary or related to a related hereditary cause
Symptoms of TMJ
There are many symptoms that patients report having, all of which could be intermittent. These include:
- Popping, locking or clicking jaw
- Trouble opening or closing the mouth
- Pain while chewing
- Jaw pain
- Neck pain
- Ear pain
How Chiropractic can Help
Chiropractors assess the condition first, looking for a cause and documenting your level of discomfort or pain. Most TMJ conditions will respond well to Chiropractic care. If we determine whether your condition will respond well there are a few treatments available. Chiropractic adjustments can help, along with myofascial release which is designed to loosen and relax soft tissue and muscle to optimize their function by releasing scar tissue.
We will come up with a plan to reduce pain, which may include a visit to the dentist to rule out misaligned dental equipment and to ensure a wrap around approach to your jaw care. In addition, we may advise you to make postural changes that include your upper neck, which could be contributing to your pain.
With those out of the way, discovering new ways to reduce stress can be a strong point in your recovery. You can never go wrong with new ways to reduce or manage stress!
Either way, alerting us of your TMJ pain is a great step ensuring you move forward pain free!
5 Ways to Optimize Working From Home
Many people have been adjusting to working from home over the past year the best way they can. It’s possible you have made adjustments in your career, childcare, sleep, healthcare, recreation, and diet. Whether it has been one of these or all of them, adjustments can be a challenge to continue to navigate over long periods of time.
Yet, here we are. Hopefully you have been doing more thriving than surviving. Either way, I’m going to leave you with 5 tips to further adjust and ensure your body and mind are thriving in synch:
- Take inventory of the last year. What has worked really well and what hasn’t? Looking back and taking notice of what you were doing when you were feeling your best is something you certainly should be doing more of!
- Re-evaluate your schedule. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you turning off work every evening? Are you making time to get outside and decompress mentally after a long day at your home office? It has been easy to dismiss the value in a commute we thought we didn’t enjoy, but the truth is this may have been your only time to quiet your mind, read, or listen to a podcast without catering to others. Make sure you are carving time out of your day to fulfill your own needs!
- Are you moving your body? This winter left many people feeling isolated. The combination of freezing temperatures and a lack of indoor activities had people staying inside much more than what we are accustomed to. For those of you who took a dive into apps that keep your body moving, great! However, now that the frigid weather is gone there are no more excuses for not getting outside. More people are visiting trails, purchasing bikes and going for walks than ever before, so get out there and keep your body moving.
- How are you socializing? Or are you? So many people have resisted online socializing that they have become more isolated, leading to increased rates of depression and lethargy. The weather is nice, if you have neighbours, have a conversation! Say hello to those you walk by while out on your walk; interacting with others is an important aspect of how we think and feel. Office life had us being social even when we weren’t trying to be, so get in a short chat and a good laugh every day!
- Stay on top of your health! The world has been in an upheaval, but your body is still going to do what it has been doing. Any potential illnesses or pending appointments should be closely monitored and followed through with. You cannot be efficient at work if your health is suffering.
A new normal was inevitable, but that does not mean it has been time to start ignoring your wellness. Visiting your chiropractor, physiotherapist, and massage therapist is still an important part of your overall wellness. Eating well, sleeping well, laughing with friends, stretching, adjustments, spending time with family and exercising were, and continue to be the best recipe for success!
Whatever you have been doing to stay well matters, and I hope these 5 tips will allow you to improve your daily experiences. With that, do not forget to reach out to your local chiropractor to ensure the new normal has been working in your favor.