TMJ Dysfunction or Temporo-mandibular Joint Dysfunction is a cluster of symptoms associated with the jaw joint. The name is indicative of the joint formation via the mandible and the temporal bones of the head. The joint has a cartilaginous disc in between its articulation that may be injured during biting, trauma (severe whiplash injuries or blow to the mandible) or slow chronic grinding of teeth. Although the joint pain is usually considered very benign, the consequences of TMJ Syndrome can be very difficult. Unfortunately, in some cases, TMJ Syndrome can last for years, and due to inconclusive treatment protocols and lack of research, many patients seek help from doctor to doctor with minimal relief.
Dr. Manfred’s training in TMJ Syndrome treatments started in 1989 when he personally faced the disease. Due to the severe stress of clinic entrance exams at Palmer Chiropractic College, Dr. Manfred, then a student at the school, noticed severe jaw pain which forced him into liquid diets for weeks. Finally, out of sheer desperation Dr. Manfred consulted one of his adjustment instructors and asked for help. Using the Activator Method and only two visits, Dr. Manfred was pain free with immense interest in treating this debilitating disease.
A good practitioner must diagnose by finding the core cause of the disease. The patient must be evaluated for any arthritic diseases, hereditary possibilities, traumas to neck and face such as car accidents or sport injuries, bite or dental issues, and grinding of teeth such as bruxism. TMJ Syndrome is diagnosed when pain, lack of mobility, or noise such as popping sounds present during normal jaw function. About 20 to 30% of the adults are affected by this disease and the majority of the patients are females. The treatment consists of:
- Decreasing TMJ inflammation
- Decreasing joint fixation using gentle and pain-free chiropractic adjustments
- Improving bilateral muscle balance using specific jaw exercises to retrain the involved muscles
- Improving jaw muscle tonicity by using specific TMJ exercises
- Treating the cervical spine (neck) if involved in the TMJ Syndrome
- Possible referral to a dentist for occlusal adjustment (bite adjustment)
- In severe cases where medical intervention is needed, the patient may be referred for more invasive treatments such as injecting anti-inflammatory in involved soft tissue or using botox injections to relax the involved muscle
If you are suffering from TMJ Syndrome or think you may be having some jaw discomfort, feel free to call our office for a quick evaluation of the condition. Such diseases should be first treated using conservative methods before any invasive procedures are utilized. The jaw joint is an incredibly sensitive joint and lack of ease in this joint can decrease the quality of life. Pain during eating, pain at night during sleeping and jaw pain at work due to stress can be fatiguing. The sooner you seek help the better your chances of beating this disease.