The temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-man-dib-u-lur) joint TMJ acts as a sliding hinge that connects the jawbone to the skull. There is one joint on each side of the jaw. TMJ jaw disorders are also known as temporomandibular disorders – TMD. These disorders affect the connecting point between the jaw and the skull that causes swelling and pain in the joint and the muscles that control movement. The disorder can be caused by a combination of factors, like stress, genetics, arthritis, or injury. The symptoms, pain, and discomfort are often temporary and can be relieved with self-care and nonsurgical treatment like chiropractic.
Table of Contents
If the jaw is not moving correctly or becomes imbalanced, it can stress the temporomandibular joint. If this happens, the jaw muscles and the neck and shoulder muscles can tense up and over time become fatigued as they overwork to compensate and keep the jaw balanced. The bones that interact in the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disc to maintain smooth movement. Jaw disorders can happen if:
- The disc erodes or moves out of alignment.
- The joint’s cartilage is damaged by arthritis.
- The joint is damaged by impact trauma like hitting the head from a fall or sports accident.
- Individuals that have been in an automobile accident.
Other factors include:
- Tension or stress can cause individuals to grind or clench their teeth, known as bruxism.
- Dental work
- Misaligned spine
- Autoimmune diseases
Symptoms of TMJ vary from case to case. These symptoms might include:
- Problems with opening or closing the mouth
- Difficulty or pain while chewing
- Pain or tenderness of the jaw
- Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
- Aching facial pain
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Aching pain in and around the ear
- Locking of the joint
- Clicking sound
- Grating sensation
Chiropractors can help with TMJ by alleviating tension and dysfunction in the shoulder, neck, and jaw. Once the dysfunction is relieved, it reduces the pressure on various nerves. Treatment includes:
- Manipulation of the jaw joint so it can move easily
- Relief of the muscle tension near the jaw
- Eating soft foods
- Reducing stress and tension
- Wearing dental splints
- Physical therapy rehabilitation
- Jaw release exercises
The Glycemic Index
Not all carbs are equal, with some having a more significant effect on insulin levels than others. For individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance, this is important. A food’s Glycemic Index – ranging from 0 to 100 – indicates how a particular carbohydrate will affect blood sugar and insulin levels.
- Foods that digest quickly are high on the index.
- Foods that digest slowly are lower on the index.
Foods high on the GI scale, include potatoes and white bread, are quickly broken down. This is what happens when going through a sugar rush that comes crashing down minutes later. Foods low on the GI scale, include sweet potatoes and whole oats, are digested gradually. This results in a steady rise in blood sugar levels. The following factors may influence the GI scale:
- The more processed the food, the higher the GI.
Fat and acid content
- Foods high in fat, acid, or carbs eaten with fat or acid tend to have a lower GI.
- Fiber slows down the rate of digestion, leading to a gradual, healthy rise in blood sugar levels.
- Ripened fruits tend to have a higher GI than unripened fruit.
Alcantara, Joel et al. “Chiropractic care of a patient with temporomandibular disorder and atlas subluxation.” Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics vol. 25,1 (2002): 63-70. doi:10.1067/mmt.2002.120415
DeVocht, James W et al. “A pilot study of a chiropractic intervention for management of chronic myofascial temporomandibular disorder.” Journal of the American Dental Association (1939) vol. 144,10 (2013): 1154-63. doi:10.14219/jada.archive.2013.0034
Pavia, Steven et al. “Chiropractic Treatment of Temporomandibular Dysfunction: A Retrospective Case Series.” Journal of chiropractic medicine vol. 14,4 (2015): 279-84. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2015.08.005
Rubis, Lisa M et al. “A collaborative approach between chiropractic and dentistry to address temporomandibular dysfunction: a case report.” Journal of chiropractic medicine vol. 13,1 (2014): 55-61. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2013.10.003
The information herein on "TMJ: Jaw Disorders" 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 healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.
We are here to help you and your family.
Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card