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The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. It’s this hinge that allows the jaw to move side to side and up and down. This way, you can chew food and speak. Specifically, temporomandibular disorders (TMD) is the term given for problems with the jaw and facial muscles and not TMJ. The direct cause of TMD is still unknown, but it’s believed that symptoms arise from problems with the joint or jaw muscles. At the same time, grinding the teeth, arthritis in the joint and whiplash or a heavy blow can lead to TMD.
TMD can cause discomfort and severe pain. These symptoms may be temporary or long term. More women than men have TMD, and it’s frequently common among those between the ages of 20 and 40. Common symptoms of TMD include:
Often, TMJ is diagnosed with an oral physical exam, MRI or CT scan. A CT scan displays the boney detail of the joint, and an MRI shows whether or not the TMJ joint is in the proper position as the jaw moves.
Rutherford Chiropractic offers chiropractic care to treat the symptoms of TMJ. Once, a diagnosis of TMJ is identified, chiropractor Dr. Wesley Stewart of Rutherford Chiropractic creates a multi-faceted wellness care and health care plan for relief from TMJ symptoms. Pain management for TMJ may include a variety of chiropractic techniques, including Diversified, Flexion Distraction or spinal decompression. During manual adjustments, the jaw and muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joint are gently manipulated to relieve pain and tension. Passive treatment in physical therapy may include ultrasound or low-level laser therapy. Ultrasound delivers deep heat to the joint to relieve tenderness, soreness and pain while improving mobility. Low-level laser therapy reduces inflammation and pain and helps being able to open the mouth wider and moving the neck more freely. Dr. Wesley Stewart’s multi-faceted treatment plan is focused on TMJ rehabilitation.
If you’re having difficulty chewing, hearing popping sounds when you open or close your mouth or experiencing an uncomfortable bite, TMJ just may be the culprit. Give us a call at (615) 217-0097 to schedule a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Wesley Stewart.
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