TMJ Syndrome in Acworth
Our Acworth chiropractor sees a lot of patients coming in expressing pain associated with TMJ. For example, you open your mouth to put food into it – Pain. You yawn – pain. You talk – Pain.
Sometimes you can’t even open your mouth, and often there’s a clicking or popping sound when you do manage to open it, the kind of sound that a “hinge” in your jaw might make if it needed to be “oiled.”
Actually, that analogy isn’t very far off. That hinge, called the temporomandibular joint, connects your bottom jaw, mandible, to the temporal bone in your skull, right in front of your ear.
If you want to feel exactly where it is, put your index fingers on the triangular bone structure located right in front of each of your ears : Now, open your mouth. Can you feel the movement of your temporomandibular joint when you do that?
When it hurts to open your mouth, to chew, to talk or to yawn, the condition you may be suffering from is called temporomandibular joint syndrome, better known as TMJ.
Other TMJ symptoms include migraines, facial pain, toothaches, ringing in the ears, a feeling of pressure in the ears, sinus pain, dizziness, neck and/or shoulder pain, swelling in the face or blurred vision.
Causes of TMJ
The causes of TMJ? There are numerous, but some of the more common explanations include clenching your jaw tightly on a frequent basis, day or nighttime grinding of your teeth (bruxism), stress, orthodontic or dental appliances, arthritis and/or problems with the structure of the bones.
TMJ affects many more women than men; the “supermom” who works full time, cares for a family and has other outside obligations is generally a good candidate for it because of chronic stress.
Often, head trauma or an injury to the upper cervical spine (neck area) causes a misalignment of the atlas (the top vertebra of the spine). This injury may have occurred during fetal development or as the result of a fall, an accident, or even the birth process itself.
This type of trauma or injury can affect the nerves that travel from the brain through the spine and out to the muscles of the face and jaw, causing the pain that is the hallmark symptom of TMJ.
The typical approach to treating the symptoms of TMJ include the administration of medications, such as pain pills and muscle relaxers, the use of appliances, such as a nightguard to control teeth grinding, heat massage, biofeedback or psychological counseling to deal with stress and anxiety, and orthodontics or restorative dentistry.
An Upper Cervical doctor receives specific training to address and reverse any trauma that might have affected the upper cervical spine, causing the atlas misalignment. This misalignment often produces nerve interference that compromises your body’s natural ability to function correctly and to heal itself.
The Upper Cervical doctor applies a correction (adjustment) to the atlas or C1 vertebra. The effect of this single adjustment removes irritation to the nerve centers that control all functions of the body. Many TMJ sufferers have reported a reduction or complete resolution of all pain associated with their TMJ after receiving Upper Cervical care.
Using very precise diagnostic tools, including X-rays and digital infrared imaging, an Upper Cervical doctor can determine the exact location of an atlas misalignment. Following the application of the Upper Cervical correction, these same tools confirm that the proper correction has taken place.
“I was in a severe car accident several years ago and following it, I began to experience the symptoms of TMJ and a myriad of symptoms associated with it including neck pain and headaches that all seemed to go together. I had no knowledge at all that it was related to neck trauma caused by my accident! Upper Cervical care has been a lifesaver for me. The pain is gone and now I can open and close my mouth normally for the first time in years!”
- Megan P.
“Head and neck trauma can greatly affect the functioning of nerves that go to all parts of your body. When the atlas is properly positioned and your head is on straight, it’s amazing to discover that your body has tremendous potential to heal on its own, without drugs and without surgery.”
- Dr. Lukas of Lukas Upper Cervical Healthcare
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