Chiropractic Care for TMJD - Part II: Treatment
July 23, 2015
By Dr. Sarah Visconti BSN, DC
In last week’s post, we reviewed the anatomy of the temporomandiular joint and the pathophysiologies most commonly responsible for TMJ dysfunction. In today’s post, we will cover how chiropractic care can help to treat the pain and symptoms of this common condition.
Standard Care for TMJ Dysfunction
Standard medical care includes muscle relaxants and analgesics, night guards to prevent bruxism (teeth grinding), and dietary changes to softer foods. In more severe cases, orthodontic bite plates may be used. In the most extreme cases, surgery may be performed.
While extremes are necessary in some cases, chiropractic care in combination with dental care should be the first line of defense for relieve of the pain and symptoms of TMJD.
Chiropractic Care and TMJ Dysfunction
As mentioned in many pervious posts, chiropractors treat more than just the spine. Aside from the neck and back, the TMJ is one of the most commonly treated joints in the body.
An appropriately functioning TMJ should be able move through ranges of motion smoothly and painlessly. Part I of the TMJD blog explained that pathology of the joint could cause popping, clicking, and pain.
If pathology of the joint is related to a slipping of the articular disc, the aim of care is to provide distraction to encourage the disc to return to an anatomically appropriate position. In some cases, using the natural anatomy of the jaw (i.e. the mandibular condyle) and skillful vectors can encourage the disc to move back into the fossa. Soft tissue work is often necessary to break up adhesions/scar tissue, relax the muscles, and relieve muscular related pain.
When the pathology of TMJD is related to joint degeneration, the purpose of chiropractic care is to slow the process and prevent further damage. Degeneration of a joint occurs with noxious movements and stagnation. This can be a vicious cycle, as the pain of TMJD can cause one to limit motion. By restoring appropriate gait of the jaw and encouraging a healthy joint complex, further damage can bee prevented.
Chiropractic care ensures proper function of the head, neck, and jaw through gentle mobilization/manipulation techniques, soft tissue therapy (including CranioSacral Technique and ART), and thorough education, including postural rehabilitation, stress reduction, and homecare exercises.
If you have any questions or concerns or you just want to learn more, please feel free to contact us!
Yours in health,