Causes and Solutions for Your TMJ Pain

Causes and Solutions for Your TMJ Pain

Your temporomandibular joint, also known as the TMJ, is the joint where your jaw connects to your skull. "Temporo" meaning the temporal bone of the skull, and "mandibular" meaning the mandible or jaw bone. These joints (one on each side) are responsible for allowing your jaw to open and close when you talk or chew. 

If this joint is not in perfect alignment, or if there is irritation and inflammation in the area, it can become very painful to talk or chew. This is commonly known as TMJD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. There are a few main causes of TMJD and a few things you can do for relief if you are experiencing TMJD.

What causes TMJD?

There are many things that can cause TMJD. However, there are a few very common things that cause the majority of TMJ disorders.

Bad habits

Habits like chewing gum, sucking your thumb, or biting your nails could lead to disorders in the TMJ. These habits are constant movements of the jaw in somewhat unnatural ways. When you are constantly chewing gum, you are overworking the joint and sometimes, depending on how you chew, forcing it to move in a sideways position. Especially if you are chewing gum a lot as a nervous habit, or in a stressful way, this can wear down the TMJ cartilage over time. Sucking your thumb also forces the jaw to stay open in an awkward position, which causes a miscommunication between the jaw and the teeth. Biting your nails also adds unnecessary force to the TMJ and could be a cause of jaw pain.

Grinding your teeth

Grinding or clenching your teeth is something that a lot of us do without even realizing it. When we are stressed or overwhelmed, we may clench our teeth. You might notice this when you are driving or taking a test. Even more common is grinding your teeth at night, which is known as bruxism. While there are so many reasons why somebody might grind their teeth at night, the result is almost always pain in the jaw, neck, and head. Getting a mouth guard or massage may alleviate this tension and release TMJ pain.

Aging or arthritis

Aging is a common and somewhat unavoidable cause of TMJ pain and TMJD. If pain starts arising in the TMJ as someone is getting older, it is possible that the cartilage in the joint is beginning to wear thin or deteriorate. This can be combatted with natural anti-inflammatories and cleaning up the diet. While you may not be able to regenerate the cartilage, eating a non-inflammatory diet and taking supplements like turmeric may decrease the inflammation and pain in the joint.

Misaligned atlas bone

The bones of your neck and cervical spine are directly related to the bones of your skull and jaw. When your neck bones are in proper alignment, everything is stacked nicely and things can function without any issues. However, if there is a misalignment in your neck, specifically at the top two bones called atlas and axis, it can cause problems for your skull and jaw. This is why getting the top of your neck in alignment can help alleviate TMJD symptoms and pain.

Atlas specialist for TMJD relief

Here at Performance Chiropractic, Dr. Nor Jobarah specializes in aligning the top two bones in the neck, known as the atlas and axis. After taking very specific x-rays, Dr. Nor is able to deliver a gentle, pain-free adjustment to the top of your neck. The result of this adjustment is getting the bones in your neck back into proper alignment and alleviating issues within the TMJ. Patients often get tremendous jaw pain relief from this safe and effective procedure.

If you are experience TMJD and are ready for relief, give us a call at 303-425-4444. Dr. Nor is looking forward to helping you get out of pain so you can get back to doing the things you love.

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