Jaw And Facial Pain
Many people experience jaw pain from stress, arthritis, or perhaps an injury. The most common diagnoses are Temporomandibular Joint Pain and Bruxism (Grinding of the Teeth). Patients frequently complain of muscle stiffness, tension headaches, lack of sleep, and chronic pain! Most cases can be alleviated non-surgically.
Most of us know someone who has suffered from the effects of TMJ pain. Temporomandibular Disorder orTMD affects about 20% of people to some degree, and can range from an annoying click to debilitating pain. Most people, however, don’t fully understand why the joint begins to develop issues in the first place. The TMJ is a complex system of muscles, ligaments, bone, discs, and highly sensitive nerves. When one or more components of this system start to break down, the results can feel catastrophic. The prevention of damage to these systems is the key to a healthy and happy joint.
TMD tends to afflict people between the ages of 20 and 40, with women being more likely to develop symptoms than men. It is not surprising that this issue coincides with some of the most stressful years of life. Residual stress from our busy days can manifest as the destructive process of nighttime grinding known as bruxism. Though there are many ways to damage the TMJ, bruxism is the most common cause of TMD. Bruxism places incredible pressure on the TMJ system, causing inflammation and damage to internal and external joint structures. Sadly, because we grind while we are asleep most people have no idea they are grinding to begin with. All is not lost however, if you notice muscle fatigue in your cheeks in the morning, have chronic headaches, or experience TMJ pain or loss of joint function, it is important that you consult a dentist without delay. We have many diagnostic, preventative, and corrective tools at our disposal and can help be your guide through the complex world of TMJ pain.
Treatment of Temporomandibular Disorder – TMD
The least invasive treatments are the first you want to try. This includes massage therapy, trigger point dry needling and exercises. Our success case below did just that. She was referred by her physician and we resolved her condition without the use of medication.
Tooth extraction may cause a traumatic insult to your jaw muscles and TMJ. As this is a physical trauma, physical treatment is the best choice. This is why patients respond very well with treatment that is aimed at reducing muscle spasms and increasing function thru exercises creating more flexibility and range of motion.
Success Case – Caitlin B.
“I may be biased since I have never visited another chiropractor, but I can say confidently that I always leave in 100% better condition than when I walk in. My visits started because my medical doctor prescribed physical therapy for my jaw after having my wisdom teeth removed. What Dr. Ray diagnosed as TMJ affected me not only physically but emotionally as well. Every morning I dreaded waking up and trying to yawn, speak, or eat. For weeks I had massages from the very talented hands of his Therapist, and everything from alignments to educational talks with Dr. Ray. Today I canlive life normally again and it’s all thanks to Dr. Ray and his wonderful staff.” – Caitlin B.