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  • Writer's pictureDr. Taylor Ferguson

TMJ - Dysfunction!

It is estimated that over 10 million Americans have TMJD. What exactly is TMJD? The letters stand for tempo-mandibular joint dysfunction. This is commonly experienced as jaw pain, clicking or popping within the jaw joint, or lock jaw. While everyone has a “TMJ”, tempo-mandibular joint, many individuals also experience TMJD, tempo-mandibular joint dysfunction. If you or someone you know has jaw pain, pain with chewing, or gets lock jaw at times you may want to suggest that they see a chiropractor.

When most people hear “chiropractor” they think neck and back pain, but in reality chiropractors are skeletal muscular specialists and the tempo-mandibular joint is a joint just like those in the spine and extremities. In addition to potential joint dysfunction, the area is also surrounded by muscles, which may contain trigger points. There is also an interarticular disc that is present within the joint. All of these structures, in addition to the joint itself can be pain generators. Chiropractors, who specialize in soft tissue treatment in addition to chiropractic adjustments, are the most equipped to address and correct TMJ dysfunction as they have the skills needed to correct all of the tissues that could be responsible for creating the pain around the TMJ.

Dr. Taylor uses multiple techniques when working with soft tissue structures. One in particular called, Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) can be used to address soft tissues inside and outside of the oral cavity that are associated with the TMJ. Another technique commonly used to reduce the presence of trigger points known as dry needling can be used around the TMJ. There is also evidence to support that there is a correlation between TMJ dysfunction and cervical spine dysfunction. As chiropractors we are more than capable of correcting the cervical spine dysfunction in conjunction with the TMJ dysfunction. In fact, they would be approached very similarly to one another. Treatment of both areas, when working with Dr. Taylor would include adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and rehabilitative exercises. This is because she understands that the best results come from treating the system as a whole as opposed only treating your symptoms. Lastly, she will address function of the TMJ through corrective exercise that will continue to build upon the treatment performed in the office out of the office and keep you feeling better longer.

At times TMJ dysfunction can be a result of dental issues or even dental procedures. People frequently notice an increase in their TMJ symptoms following long sessions in the dental chair. This indicates that TMJD in some cases requires co-management between a dentist and a chiropractor. This will ensure they are getting the best, most effective, well-rounded care, that truly treats the complete system. This is another reason why chiropractic care is essential for those looking to address all aspects of their TMJ dysfunction and pain. Schedule an appointment today to see how Dr. Taylor can correct your TMJ dysfunction.


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