Bruxism is an abnormal jaw clenching or grinding of the teeth, either while awake or during sleep. This can cause neck and shoulder tension caused by excess pressure on the neck and jaw muscles. Individuals may not realize they have bruxism until a dentist notices excess wear and tear or a chiropractor examines their symptoms. Bruxism can play a role in temporomandibular disorders. Doctors and dentists agree that factors like stress increase the likelihood of jaw clenching. Dentists usually recommend a mouth guard to prevent grinding. Chiropractic care, massage, and decompression therapy can relieve symptoms, release and relax the muscles, realign the spine, and restore function.
There is awake bruxism and sleep bruxism. A tight jaw generates tension extending to the neck, shoulder, and upper back muscles. Over time, that excess strain irritates the joints, causing inflammation. Jaw clenching and teeth grinding can lead to health issues like damaged teeth, neck, shoulder, and upper back pain symptoms, and tension headaches.
Signs and symptoms can include:
If there is a jaw clenching or grinding issue, it is recommended to see a dentist for a professional diagnosis. Then a chiropractor can develop a personalized treatment plan that utilizes massage and decompression therapy to re-position the jaw, stretch, release and relax the muscles. They will recommend exercises to strengthen and maintain the relaxed jaw muscles and awareness exercises to help identify triggers and prevent clenching.
Capellini, Verena Kise, et al. “Massage therapy in managing myogenic TMD: a pilot study.” Journal of applied oral science: Revista FOB vol. 14,1 (2006): 21-6. doi:10.1590/s1678-77572006000100005
Kuhn, Monika, and Jens Christoph Türp. “Risk factors for bruxism.” Swiss dental journal vol. 128,2 (2018): 118-124.
Nishida, Norihiro et al. “Stress analysis of the cervical spinal cord: Impact of the morphology of spinal cord segments on stress.” The journal of spinal cord medicine vol. 39,3 (2016): 327-34. doi:10.1179/2045772315Y.0000000012
Ohayon, M M et al. “Risk factors for sleep bruxism in the general population.” Chest vol. 119,1 (2001): 53-61. doi:10.1378/chest.119.1.53
Santos Miotto Amorim, Cinthia, et al. “Effectiveness of two physical therapy interventions, relative to dental treatment in individuals with bruxism: study protocol of a randomized clinical trial.” Trials vol. 15 8. 7 Jan. 2014, doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-8
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The information herein on "Jaw Clenching: EP's Chiropractic Functional Medicine Team" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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