Chiropractors can treat more than your spine! Here at Chiro for Moms, we address all kinds of pain conditions including jaw pain [aka TMJ pain]. This blog dives into what jaw pain can look like, the causes + what we do as chiropractors to treat TMJ pain!
Jaw dysfunction is both painful and annoying, especially since this joint never rests [hello eating + talking]! The ‘jaw joint’ is technically called the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. The pain typically stems from inflammation in the joint caused by a variety of things [listed below].
Top 5 Causes of TMJ Dysfunction:
Teeth grinding [bruxism]
Mask wearing [more on this below!]
Ill-fitting retainers/mouth guards.
Arthritic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis [LESS COMMON]
Many people struggle with TMJ pain, but it seems that more are being affected since starting to wear masks. Our hypothesis is that people tend to hold their mouth open while wearing a mask to breathe out of both their mouth and nose which in turn leads to jaw fatigue and pain! A similar tension and fatigue occurs when you clench your jaw, such as when you are stressed or anxious.
Top Symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction:
- Jaw or facial pain [at rest or when chewing foods]
- Jaw locking, catching, or clicking
- Popping and grinding jaw sensations
- Decreased motion [standard is ~3 knuckles]
- Ear pain
- Neck pain
Infant/Newborns: open mouth posture can be a sign~ jaw dysfunction goes hand in hand with tongue & lip ties
Our Care + Advice
- Adjustments : neck + jaw [YES your jaw can be adjusted!! Explained in video above]
- Intra-oral trigger point/massage [demo also in video above!]
- Muscle work: jaw + neck muscles
- Diet modifications : take care to choose foods that are kind to your jaw [goodbye raw carrots and grandma’s hard candy!]
- Restrict mouth opening during yawning
- Practice good mouth posture: mouth closed with your jaw relaxed and your tongue pressing into the roof of your mouth/hard palate