TMJ 101: Ten Facts About TMJ Disorders

tmj-101-ten-facts-about-tmj-disordersHaving a TMJ disorder might look like simple jaw pain, but it can hinder many things in your daily life, such as enjoying your meal or singing with friends. Before going to a TMJ disorder chiropractor in Salt Lake City, it is essential to be informed of the nature of the condition. We have listed below ten things you need to know about TMJ disorders.


#1: TMJ is the body part, not the disorder

A common mistake that people make is referring to TMJ as the disorder itself. But the truth is, every person should have a TMJ. This is known as the temporomandibular joint, or the joint that attaches the mandible to the skull. The correct way to refer to the condition is TMJ disorder, TMJ dysfunction, or TMD.

#2: Pain from TMD extends to other parts of the body

Since our bones and muscles are connected, people who have a TMJ disorder might feel pain in areas other than their jaws. The pain brought about by a TMJ disorder could be felt in the neck, ear, face, and can even cause migraines. For some, the pain extends down to the upper back and shoulders.

#3: A TMJ disorder affects the jaw’s range of motion

Other than the pain that it causes, TMD can prevent you from using your jaw in its full range of motion. There are movements of the jaw that will be restricted. This can affect your ability to chew your food or even speak.

#4: Neck injuries can cause TMD 

Different issues can cause TMJ disorders, and one of the most common causes is having an accident or injury. Even if the accident did not directly hit the jaw, injuries to the neck could also give you TMJ problems which can explain why TMJ pain extends to other parts of the body such as the neck.

#5: Bruxism can bring TMJ pain

When stressed, a person may exhibit bruxism, or teeth grinding. This condition can lead to having jaw pain as well as affecting the teeth by wearing them away, which can result in tooth loss. If this is the cause of the TMJ pain, the best course of action to take is to undergo stress relief techniques and wearing a mouth guard to bed.

#6: A soft diet can relieve some cases of TMD

A TMJ disorder is not always a chronic condition. A tired jaw may just cause it. To fix this, eat softer food for a few days to ease the exertion of the jaw. If it does not work, then there might be a different underlying cause.

#7: Stress can make TMD worse

Even for those without bruxism, people who are under stress may tend to clench and unclench their jaw repeatedly, which can wear the joint out. People who suffer from TMJ problems would benefit from stress relief techniques to relax the jaw.

#8: TMD can cause sleep problems

Bruxism is not the only sleep issue that could come with TMD. It has been found that people with TMJ problems are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Researchers do not know the exact relationship between the two. It could be that jaw problems lead to OSA, or that people with OSA are more likely to have jaw problems. Regardless of the relationship, TMD causing sleep problems may result in headaches or even migraines, which is a common occurrence for TMD patients.

#9: TMD might stem from neck problems

As we have already established, TMJ disorders can be due to an accident or injury, and one of the most common symptoms is neck pain. This would lead us to the conclusion that the neck may be the source of the pain. The atlas (C1) vertebra is near the TMJ, facial nerves, and ears. The misalignment of this vertebra can cause pain in the upper back and shoulders. It would not be a stretch to consider the misalignment of the atlas as the cause of the common symptoms of TMD.

#10 Natural TMD relief is available 

There are home remedies readily available to bring relief to TMJ pain, such as eating softer food for the time being, not using your jaw as much temporarily, massaging the jaw, and applying ice to ease the inflammation. 

Another remedy that we would like to introduce to you is upper cervical chiropractic care. This is a subspecialty of chiropractic that aims to treat the top two spinal bones – the C1 (atlas) and the C2 (axis). A lot of patients with TMD finds success in treating their condition through this form of healthcare.

What sets it apart from other forms of chiropractic care is that it uses precise measurements identified through diagnostic imaging. It also applies gentle, low-force adjustments and does not use methods such as cracking and popping the bones that general chiropractic usually does. Lastly, once the atlas misalignment has been corrected, you don’t have to come back frequently, so it is very cost-friendly. You will only need proper maintenance, which is based on how long the adjustments hold, and there is less need to come back repeatedly to the office. 

You may contact us here at Elevation Chiropractic Center in Salt Lake City, Utah and schedule a no-obligation consultation to learn more about upper cervical chiropractic.