TMJ refers to the temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-mun-DIB-u-lur) joint (the jaw joint). This joint is where your jaw connects to your skull and is a hinge like joint. Like other joints, the surfaces of the TMJ are lined with cartilage. The articulating surfaces of this joint are separated by a small disc. A normally functioning TMJ will glide smoothly as the mouth is opened and closed. The jaw should move comfortably and shouldn't deviate to the left or right as it moves.
When a person starts experiencing pain in the joint or the surrounding tissues, this is often referred to as TMJ disorder or dysfunction. Often times people with this joint disorder will hear a click, pop or grinding sound when they open and close their mouth. Their jaw may jut to the right or left with movement and sometimes even lock with something as simple as yawning.
The cause of TMJ dysfunction is not clearly understood. Many with this condition have had trauma to the jaw, joint arthritis or have a history and clenching or grinding their teeth, especially at night. The main muscle of chewing, the masseter muscle, is the strongest muscle in the human body for its weight, so it is pretty powerful. Many with TMJ pain will also experience headaches and neck pain.
If there is not significant joint degeneration or severe displacement of the TMJ disc, conservative care is the best option for dealing with TMJ disorders. Your Newport Beach chiropractor and acupuncturist has had great success treating such TMJ disorders. By working with the muscles of the jaw (both outside and inside your mouth-with a gloved hand, of course!) and gently mobilizing the jaw Dr. Pierce has helped patients experience immediate relief of their jaw pain and headaches. Dr. Pierce does not forcefully manipulate (crack) the jaw to accomplish this.
Many patients have also had reduced pain in their jaw and associated headaches and neck pain with this unique chiropractic technique and acupuncture treatment.
To find out if your jaw pain relief can be a reality, call our Newport Beach office or schedule an appointment online today!