Chiropractors In Davenport Help With TMJ Disorder (TMD)

Chiropractors In Davenport Help With TMJ Disorder Chiropractors In Davenport Help With TMJ Disorder


Davenport Chiropractors


Jaw pain can be a very unpleasant thing. It can lead to earaches, headaches, and sinus congestion. The main question that most people ask is: What causes this pain? There can be a number of causes as well as a number treatment options. We will go over the most common causes as well as common treatment options.

What Is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ stands for temporo-mandibular joint. When there is a problem with this joint we often add disorder to the end to indicate that something is not working how it should. This can often be abbreviated TMD. An important point to note is that this is typically not an issue that occurs overnight. This is usually something that happens over a long period of time. TMD is often diagnosed when someone has jaw pain that is not due to dental problems or other causes. There is often a popping or clicking as a person fully opens their mouth, or upon closing. This is the joint moving out of proper alignment and then moving back into place. Commonly a person may not be able to fully open their mouth. Another common issue is that a person will grind their teeth at night, causing overuse of the muscles, leading to pain and tightness. These issues can lead to a degeneration of the joint which can involve a disc issue or even arthritis.

Common Causes Of TMD

1. Muscle and ligament tightness. This is often referred to myofascial pain syndrome. This is an overuse type of injury that takes many months to years before you even know that there is a problem. During this time a person typically will clench their jaw on one side and/or grind their teeth on one side at night. This causes the muscles and ligaments to become tight on that side. Because these muscles are tighter, they will often cause the jaw to deviate (move) in the direction of the tight muscles. This can place excessive strain on the disc in the TMJ. Over time this can also cause a degeneration (wearing down) of the mandible (jaw bone). Many people report clicking or popping when they fully open their mouth. This can be due to the disc becoming detached and folding over on itself as you begin to open your jaw and as you completely open, the jaw moves past the flap and falls back down to its normal position. This can also occur because the tight muscles are for clenching and as you open completely, these muscles become stretched and relax enough to go back to the normal position.

The muscles of mastication attach at numerous places around your neck and skull. This means that these tight muscles can lead to neck pain, headaches, sinus congestion, and earaches/ear infections. Muscle and ligament tightness is often the underlying cause of TMD and can lead to disc issues and arthritis.

2. Disc Degeneration. This is usually one of the results of long term muscle and ligament tightness.  Excess pressure is placed on the disc opposite the side of muscle tightness. Over time, the disc gets pulled away from the bone or becomes torn. When this occurs, as the jaw begins to open the disc gets folded over on top of itself and makes the joint space bigger than it typically is. This causes a stretching of the muscles on that side. Over-stretched muscles can often be painful as well. As the jaw opens further, it gets past the point of the folded over disc and clicks or pops back into place.

3. Arthritis. If the disc condition continues to worsen, the bones will start to rub on each other. This can lead to a condition known as osteoarthritis. This involves pain and inflammation from the bones rubbing together. Over time it can also lead to the body putting down extra bone around the joint to prevent from moving even farther out of alignment.

Common Treatments For TMD

1. Chiropractic Care In Davenport, IowaBelieve it or not, Chiropractors in Davenport are uniquely qualified to treat TMD. We are trained to evaluate tight muscles and muscles firing patterns to determine if the jaw is moving properly. Depending on the severity of the TMD, x-rays may be required to determine if there is arthritis in the joint. Often, conservative muscular release techniques such as myofascial release (MFR) and trigger point therapy, as well as stretching of the tight muscles and strengthening of the weak or stretched muscles can be done without x-ray evaluation. As tight musculature is the main cause of TMD, Chiropractic muscle release techniques as well as gentle adjustments to help align the jaw so that we can begin the process of proper movement immediately.

Another great benefit of having a Chiropractor in the Quad Cities treat your TMD is that we can also evaluate other muscular imbalances in your body. Your neck muscles may begin to compensate for your jaw muscles to help alleviate the pain. Once the neck muscles are involved, then your upper back can compensate for the neck, and then your lower back for your upper back. Motor patterns in the human body can be complicated, and it takes a skilled professional (like the Best Chiropractor In Davenport) to properly evaluate them.

2. Dentists In Davenport, Iowa. Dentists are another great option for evaluating TMD. Their job revolves around people opening and closing their mouths. Most dentists in the Quad Cities can treat TMD. Often they will prescribe a mouth guard to help with teeth grinding (if that is an issue) and for proper dental alignment. Over time this can lead to a reduction in symptoms, much in the same way that braces align teeth. Often x-rays will be taken to help determine proper dental alignment. Stretches may also be given to help alleviate the condition.

3. Medical Doctors And Surgeons In Davenport, Iowa. Medical doctors will often prescribe pain relievers and muscle relaxers as a course of treatment. They may also refer you to a physical therapist in the Quad Cities for stretching and stregthening exercises. If it is determined that there is considerable degeneration or arthritis in the joint, a medical doctor may refer for a surgical consult. This is often a last resort for patients that have exhausted all other options.

4. All Of The Above. TMD is a complicated condition. It may take more than one healthcare professional in the Quad Cities to treat your specific condition. Communication is key. A few skilled practitioners working together can be a wonderful thing. Always call and ask if they have experience or work with patient’s with TMD. If they do, ask what their treatment options are. Be an informed patient and don’t be afraid to ask questions if something does not make sense. If you are looking for a Chiropractor in Davenport that treats TMD, then be sure to give us a call! Get Adjusted and Be Well!

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