The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is one of the most frequently used joints in the body. It is responsible for movements needed for eating, chewing, talking, yawning, and so on. This joint is designed similar to a hinge, connecting the jaw bone to the skull. Issues in the function of this joint could be a result of a problem within the joint itself or with the muscles that power the joint’s movement. There are many characteristics that can be ascribed to issues with the TMJ such as popping or clicking in the joint, pain or tenderness in the jaw, ear aches, or difficulty chewing.
Habits that can be a factor in TMJ pain include the following:
- Nail biting and gum chewing
- Propping your head up with your hand on one side
- Using your teeth for jobs they’re not meant for, like prying things that are difficult to open
- Eating extremely hard or crunchy foods
- Smoking cigarettes
Reducing some of these habits can bring relief for milder cases of temporomandibular joint dysfunction. However, if avoiding these activities does not provide lasting relief, then they are probably not the root cause of your TMJ problems, and it is most likely necessary to further investigate the issue.
The Connection Between the Spine and the Jaw
The focus of upper cervical chiropractic care is on the alignment of the atlas vertebra which is located at the very top of the neck and is closely connected to the function of the jaw joint. If the atlas moves out of alignment to even a slight degree, it can negatively affect the proper function of the jaw. Atlas misalignments can lead to the jaw pulling to one side due to unequal muscle tension on either side of the face. This makes a person susceptible to pain, clicking, popping, or limitations in range of motion.
Atlas adjustments at Advanced Spinal Care are gentle and specific to exactly where the misalignment has occurred. The goal of our practice is to address the root cause of your TMJ pain and dysfunction using our natural methods. Correcting the atlas misalignment can restore proper balance and symmetry to the face and jaw joint, which means less pain and fewer issues related to temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
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if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.