The Temporomandibular Joint is a long name for what most people call the “TMJ.” As a Mission Viejo Chiropractor, what I hear from patients is that they have TMJ Syndrome and it hurts and pops.
If you place your fingers in front of each ear and open your jaw, you’ll feel lots of wiggling. This is where your skull’s temporal bone attaches to your mandible (jaw): the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Lots of ligaments, cartilage, fascia, discs, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels run in, around, and through it.
The symptoms of TMJ syndrome include the inability to open the mouth wide, clicking or popping sound when the mouth opens or closes, and in some cases, the jaw can even temporarily lock up. What a scary uncomfortable feeling.
The best chiropractors know that other TMJ symptoms can include headaches, hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), throat fullness, facial swelling, shoulder, cheek or jaw pain, neck ache, facial nerve pain, ear or eye pain, dental pain, nausea, blurred vision, and dizziness.
Some TMJ symptoms have also included vertigo, throat infections, sinus congestion, ear infections, asthma, and even heart, stomach, intestinal, respiratory, and emotional disorders.
What causes it can vary. This condition can begin during the birth process, poor nutrition, stress, etc. Other causes include poor posture, spinal or skull subluxations, accidents, and trauma even from childhood.
For example, a child may fall on his/her lower back, and in time the pelvic imbalance can affect the TMJ, head, and neck.
Treating the spine in these cases is of utmost importance. The TMJ is a hinge that is controlled by the muscles in the mouth and neck. But the neck goes out of balance based on everything from the feet up. So, Chiropractic care is vital to balance the spine so that it can move correctly without any other physical alterations.
After 35 years of practice as a Chiropractor in Mission Viejo, I have been able to correct the spine and see the TMJ symptoms go away in about 80% of the cases. Since I am not doing any manual manipulation (popping and cracking) of the spine, I can adjust the alignment of the TMJ with 6 ounces of pressure, no twisting of the neck or jaw in the process.
The other 20% of the cases with TMJ actually need to go to a dentist or a dental TMJ specialist to see what else is mechanically wrong with this troublesome joint.
One of my favorite true stories was a patient that I had who was treated for lower back pain. During the correction of her spine, she developed some clicking and pain in her jaw joints. So, I proceeded to treat her TMJ as part of her visit for her back and neck.
Her back and neck responded very well and she was totally out of pain. But she continued to have jaw problems even though I treated it and treated it over and over.
So, on the next visit, I had a discussion with her. We will use the name “Pat” for this part of the story.
I looked at her and said, “Pat, I have been treating your jaw again and again, but it doesn’t seem to be going away. You only really use your jaw for 2 functions, talking and eating.”
She looked at me and laughed because she was about 20-30 pounds overweight and laughingly said, “Well, you can see I don’t have any trouble eating!”
The question I asked her was this, “Then, who is it you need to talk to that you haven’t really finished the discussion about a particular subject that is important to you?”
Again, she looked at me and exclaimed, “Oh, I know who that is!!”
At that point, I told her that I did not want to get personal or know anymore that wasn’t part of my business. But, I directed her to talk to that person and take the conversation about that subject to completion no matter what it took. And then, she reported back to me.
In 2 weeks, she came back to the office with a noticeable bounce in her step. She was very happy. She looked at me and said, “Dr. Manago, you were right. I did what you said and I have no more jaw pain. No TMJ anymore!!!”
Of course, I asked her what she did.
She went on to explain that she was 55 years old, but she and her boyfriend were divorced, and that had been going together for over 4 years. She wanted to get married and they had never finished talking about it.
He explained to her that he NEVER WANTED TO GET MARRIED EVER AGAIN. So, she broke up with her boyfriend. Ever since then all of the TMJ symptoms were gone and never came back.
I love this story because it is true. Sometimes the best chiropractor has to recognize the underlying cause of a problem and fix that if I am going to help the patient.
The moral of this story is that anyone with the terrible symptoms of TMJ needs to come in for an evaluation to see what is really causing the problem and if it can be corrected.
I only see patients with a correctible problem. So, I don’t know if I can help you without a thorough examination and probable x-rays. This visit normally costs $290 and gives me all of the information I need to determine if I can really help you. It is available to you for only $25 if you mention this blog. Certainly, call for an appointment because we are very busy.
If you have questions and want to talk before you come in, I am available for a FREE phone consultation as well.
It would be my pleasure if I could actually restore your body function to be the best you can be.
Dr. David C. Manago D. C.