Fort Collins TMJ Pain Relief
It seems like we all know someone who suffers with TMJ pain and dysfunction in Fort Collins, maybe it’s even you. The temporomandibular joint, also known as the TMJ, is the joint that allows the jaw to move when opening and closing the mouth. Specifically, they are the joints between the temporal bone (skull) and the mandible (jaw). The two joints are located on the left and right edges of the face, immediately in front of each ear. When they become injured and/or misaligned, these joints can become chronic sources of pain, popping, grinding and clicking. TMJ pain can truly affect a person’s life – tremendously! These two joints are necessary for all opening and closing motions of the mouth including speaking and eating. Pain levels can become quite severe if the problem is not corrected. There are several reasons why the temporomandibular joint can become inflamed. The two most common are:
1. Traumatic forces applied to the joints. This includes sports collisions, sleeping on your sides often, falls, punches and any other direct force. A full speed collision while playing softball, for example, can really devastate such a small joint.
2. Spinal misalignment within the neck causing altered nerve supply to the joints. There is an intimate neurological connection between the upper spine and the TMJ. When nerve function is altered within the upper neck due to simple spinal misalignments known as subluxations, the temporomandibular joint can often be negatively affected, causing jaw pain. The subluxation is almost always within the upper three most vertebra of the neck.
Most TMJ Pain Can Be Helped....
First and foremost, most jaw pain can be either greatly lessened or fixed completely with chiropractic adjustments applied to the jaw and/or spine. However not all chiropractors have the training necessary to effectively work on the TMJ. So it is imperative that you find a chiropractor that works with these joints on a frequent basis (and not twice a year). The only patients that typically struggle with getting relief from the correct chiropractic methods are those that have congenitally malformed temporomandibular joints. This means they were born with a TMJ that wasn’t perfectly formed. These cases are the minority.
The first step in determining the cause of jaw pain is to have the two joints examined by someone who has specific training in dealing with this type of joint dysfunction. It is imperative that the vertebra within the neck be examined as well. To not do so is very foolish, regardless of how you think your neck ‘feels’. A Fort Collins chiropractor with advanced training in the cause of TMJ pain is your only option for this two fold approach.
Assessment of the temporomandibular joints is simple and pain-free. The patient sits in a chair and slowly open and closes their mouth while the doctor watches for deviation of the jaw to one side, as well as ‘clunks’ in the smooth motion. The doctor will also feel the joint as it is moved by the patient in a similar manner. As the jaw is moved, the TMJ is palpated just in front of the ear. It is typically fairly obvious how the joint is misaligned just by feeling how it is moving. These two simple evaluations along with a detailed history of any traumatic impacts the joints may have suffered are all that is needed to accurately work on the greater majority of temporomandibular joints in our Fort Collins clinic. To assess your spine for potential involvement, the patient suffering with TMJ pain is treated just like any other Fort Collins chiropractic patient. The doctor will do a full work-up on your spine, specifically the neck. This includes using a special Nerve-scope along the skin of your back to determine areas of nerve inflammation as well as feeling the motion at each vertebra. As mentioned earlier, the subluxation responsible for the jaw pain is almost always within the first three vertebra of the upper neck.
The majority of people experiencing temporomandibular joint pain have neck and jaw involvement and need both worked on to get sustainable relief. Some will do fine with only having their jaw worked on. It really just depends on each person’s specific situation. Combine this natural corrective approach with a few simple changes made to your daily life as it relates to your TMJ, and you now have an effective way to care for your jaw pain. Our Fort Collins chiropractor, Dr. Steve Cook, has extensive training in correcting TMJ pain and dysfunction. He has helped dozens of people find sustainable relief from their temporomandibular joint issues. If you are suffering from TMJ pain in Fort Collins and are ready to put a stop to it, call us today and get the relief you deserve.
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