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March 4, 2022

What Is Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)?

What Is TMD?

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) is commonly referred to as TMJ (Temporo-Mandibular Joint), TMD refers to pain and/or dysfunction within the joint itself. This condition can describe any pain that is experienced in the jaw joint itself or the muscles/nerves that surround the area. TMD is a condition that is frequently treated by chiropractors, and here at Team Elite, we have helped many patients find relief from this condition.  

What is the TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is our jaw joint, specifically, it is a hinge joint that connects the mandible (lower jaw bone) to our skull, the joint allows our mouths to open and close. The TMJ is on both sides of our head, and a patient can experience pain to one side or both sides simultaneously.

TMD can present as a variety of symptoms, including jaw pain with opening or closing, pain with chewing, pain in or around the ear, popping and clicking when opening/closing the mouth, dizziness, tinnitus, and pain/tightness/stiffness in the neck. 

Although this is not an exhaustive list of symptoms, the length of the list alone shows how complex and important the TMJ is.   

How is it treated?

At any of the Team Elite office locations, we would provide a detailed examination of the TMJ and surrounding joints and musculature. Once we identify the causes of the pain, we will treat it accordingly. Typically, with TMD, we see issues to the joint itself usually caused by muscle imbalance. The most commonly involved muscles are the Temporalis, Masseter, and Pterygoid muscles. Soft tissue work will be performed on these to help correct the imbalance. Very gentle and specific manipulation can also be performed to the actual TM joint if need be. It is also common for there to be dysfunction in the neck musculature and joints, due to their functional relationship.

We also look to modify day-to-day behaviors in hopes to remove any negative stimulus. We often see the TMJ irritated by tough chewy foods, which are best avoided if someone is experiencing a flare-up.  We would also provide the patient with a few take-home exercises to improve function and decrease pain. We also can work alongside your dentist to achieve the best possible results.

Living with pain is never the answer. If you’ve been experiencing TMJ pain and would like a consultation, contact us today at 858-633-8036 or visit our website to book an appointment.

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