The jaw is composed of a complex pair of joints called the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), that are located on each side of the face. These joints are advanced moving parts that allow the mouth to hinge open and close, as well as do a sliding motion so the jaw can move side to side. The TMJ is what connects the lower part of the jaw, called the mandible, to the rest of the skull. The parts of the bones that interact with each other in the joint are covered with cartilage and have a disc between them to assist with keeping jaw movements smooth. TMJ pain could happen for several reasons:
- The disc can wear out or misalign
- The cartilage can become damaged
- The joint can be hurt from an injury or impact
The range of TMJ disorder symptoms can vary from mild pain to being unable to open and close the jaw to eat, speak, or yawn.
The Neck and the Jaw
It is very common that the same people who have TMJ pain and problems also have neck pain. This is not a coincidence. The atlas (the uppermost vertebra in the spine) is located very close to the TMJ on either side of the face. The slightest misalignment of the atlas vertebra can lead to unequal muscle tension in the jaw, resulting in one side working harder than the other. An atlas misalignment can negatively affect the nerves that assist the muscles of the jaw and face, resulting in abnormal function.
We highly recommend contacting an upper cervical chiropractor if you think that the cause of your TMJ could be related to an atlas misalignment. At Advanced Spinal Care, this is the area of the spine that what we specialize in. By taking a detailed examination at the way that the atlas is positioned, we can identify even the most minor deviation of normal alignment that could cause serious problems. After a gentle correction to realign the atlas, the body naturally begins to correct any imbalances so that normal jaw function can be restored.
To schedule a complimentary consultation call our Redwood City office at 650-595-0500 You can also click the button below.
if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.