It’s not the most well-known joint in the body but it’s certainly a critical one: the Temporal-Mandibular Joint (TMJ). It’s the joint where your jawbone meets the bones of your skull, and it’s located right in front of your ears. When this joint has problems, it can lead to a variety of problems, including:
- Biting or chewing difficulty or discomfort
- Clicking, popping, or grating sound when opening or closing the mouth
- Dull, aching pain in the face
- Jaw pain or tenderness of the jaw
- Reduced ability to open or close the mouth
- Inability to Sleep
- Neck tension
- Ear infections
- Irritability and much more.
From 5 percent to 15 percent of the American public suffer from some type of problem with this joint. Some people may see a dentist with this type of problem, but in many cases, the best person to see is your chiropractor. TMJ problems can come about because of falls where the head, neck or chin are hit, tailbone injuries that transmit effects all the way up the spine, whiplash and prolonged sitting in a work position, especially when the head extends forward. In these cases, Chiropractic adjustments specifically intended to restore structural balance can help correct TMJ problems. And correcting these problems with Chiropractic can prevent symptoms from getting worse and becoming chronic.
According to the National Institutes of Health: “Because there is no certified specialty for TMJ disorders in either dentistry or medicine, finding the right care can be difficult. Look for a health care provider who understands musculoskeletal disorders (affecting muscle, bone and joints) and who is trained in treating pain conditions.”
That description perfectly describes chiropractors. One research study compiled the results that eight patients experienced after they were treated by a chiropractor for non-muscular disorders of this joint. After suffering from this disorder for an average of eight years (one person had suffered for 40 years!), they were treated three times a week for two weeks and then on an individual basis after that for another six weeks. All eight participants had greater mobility in the joint after treatment and seven reported a decrease in pain. Certainly this is a great, non-drug, non-surgical place to start for anyone suffering from this problem!
Source: National Institutes of Health, TMJ Problems, 18 December 2009, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001227.htm
Source: Chiropractic Care for Temporomandibular Disorders, 21 Jan 2009, http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/crr/article.php?id=43,
Source: Dynamic Chiropractic, $4 Billion Spent Annually on TMD: An Opportunity for Chiropractic, April 22, 2009,
Source: TMJ and Chiropractic Care: An Overall Wellness Approach, November 25, 2009, Source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/tmj-and-chiropracticcare-an-overall-wellness-approach-74053817.html