Your jaw joint, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ), is the most complex joint in your body. It connects your jaw to your skull and allows your mouth to open and close. Without the hinging, sliding and rotating of your jaw joint, you couldn’t chew, speak or yawn. Not only is this joint highly complex, but it is also highly used. It comes to no surprise, therefore, to hear about patients who have problems with their TMJ.
You may assume that TMJ disorder needs to be addressed with your dentist. While a dental professional can certainly offer remedies for TMJ symptoms, you can also find effective therapy in sports medicine. Our sports medicine chiropractic physician can help you find relief from painful and disruptive TMJ issues. Our therapies are conservative and meant to be a long-term solution. At Manhattan Sports Therapy, we can even work closely with a specialist or dentist to help you recover from a more invasive TMJ procedure, should that be necessary. To understand how a sports medicine clinic can help your jaw joint, it’s important to understand why this joint gets irritated or damaged in the first place.
There are many reasons why your jaw joint can produce painful symptoms. This joint on either side of your lower face is surrounded by connective tissue, nerves and muscles. If the joint is overworked, strained or suddenly injured, it can cause the joint to become inflamed or stop working smoothly. This can produce the following TMJ disorder symptoms:
- Jaw Pain
- Jaw Clicking or Popping
- Jaw Stiffness
- Headaches and Neck Pain
- Ear Pain
- Sore Teeth
Since the TMJ is so closely situated to the head, neck and ears, it is not uncommon to have a misdiagnosis. Patients (and even physicians) can fail to determine TMJ disorder as the root cause of an earache or chronic migraines. While some patients experience painful jaw symptoms consistently, most people have bouts of irritation that come and go.
Reasons Why Your Jaw Joint is Painful
Now that you understand what to look for in TMJ disorder, you also need to be aware of the reason for it. TMJ irritation can come from the following:
- Blunt trauma to the face/jaw
- Nighttime teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Bad bite (malocclusion)
- Stress-induced teeth/jaw clenching
How We Can Help
The first step is to always address culprit, whether that means correcting a bad bite with braces, finding ways to relax to eliminate stress induced teeth grinding or other modifications. However, a sports medicine therapist can offer the specific hands-on manipulation your jaw needs to work properly and without pain once again. This can involve realignment of your neck and jaw as well as soft-tissue therapy to relax tense muscles.
Find out more about how we can treat your painful TMJ at Manhattan Sports Therapy.