The Role of Chiropractic Care in Treating TMJ Disorders: Relief from Jaw Pain and Headaches

Medical Conditions Joint Pain / May 23, 2023
Young woman holding both sides of her face against a neutral background.

Can chiropractors help TMJ? Temporomandibular Joint disorder (TMJ) affects nearly 10 million people in the United States annually. The condition can be quite painful and interfere with many aspects of daily life. From jaw pain, ear pain, neck pain, back pain, and headaches, muscles tension to painful jaw when eating, it can affect many parts of your head, face, and shoulders.

After a TMJ diagnosis, patients are often presented with several solutions. Many of them are quite expensive. One option is a custom-designed mouthguard to wear while you’re sleeping–though these can cost thousands of dollars to make. Even worse, insurance typically doesn’t cover this type of treatment. This can leave patients feeling discouraged as if they’re doomed to live in pain forever.

However, this isn’t the case. You can take safe, holistic, and less expensive measures to relieve the uncomfortable condition. Chiropractic treatment is a popular option, as it’s non-invasive, generally considered safe, has a low risk of side effects, and can begin reducing pain reasonably quickly. Many insurance companies do with chiropractic offices to help cover a portion of your care, including several Medicare plans.

If you’re suffering from TMJ pain, seek help from a chiropractor today. Keep reading to learn more about the causes and symptoms of TMJ, how a chiropractor can help, the non-invasive treatments available and the benefits they pose, and more.

Causes and Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

TMJ is a medical condition that affects your jaw joint, muscles, and ligaments. There are many causes of TMJ, including wear and tear (especially from teeth grinding), a traumatic accident that involves your face or jaw, chronic conditions like arthritis, and a misalignment of your teeth that causes an improper bite. These improper bites may result from under or overbites, poor dental work, the shifting of teeth, and more.

The symptoms of TMJ include:

Most people agree that there’s no pain worse or as impactful as that in the face and mouth area. The many symptoms accompanying TMJ can make it challenging to enjoy family dinners, cause pain throughout the day, and make daily living activities unpleasant. But chiropractic care can help.

The Role of Chiropractic Care In the Treatment of TMJ Disorder

Can chiropractors help TMJ pain? Yes. Chiropractic care is an excellent, non-invasive way to find relief from TMJ pain. They target the jaw bones and surrounding soft tissue to realign your jaw and alleviate pain. Chiropractors generally use various techniques throughout treatment to address the entire area for the best results.

How chiropractors help treat TMJ:

Other Non-Invasive Treatment Options for TMJ

Can chiropractors help TMJ? Absolutely. But there are other non-invasive treatments to consider as well. The first is physical therapy, which is often available at chiropractors’ offices. Physical therapy is often appropriate when treating TMJ that results from a traumatic injury that requires ongoing care to heal and manage pain.

Other non-invasive treatment options for TMJ include:

Your chiropractor may suggest a combination of these alternative treatments and your other in-office therapies. Using multiple techniques is common among those suffering from TMJ. You’ll likely feel better faster and maintain pain relief by following these therapies’ recommendations.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care versus Traditional Medical Treatment

Many patients turn to chiropractor care for TMJ rather than participate in traditional medical treatment. Chiropractic care is generally less expensive, takes a whole-body natural approach, and is entirely non-invasive. There are usually little-to-no side effects or risks in seeking chiropractic treatment for TMJ.

Traditional Medical Treatments

Traditional medical treatment consists of creating custom mouthguards to use at night. However, this usually doesn’t permanently banish pain. Additionally, the average price of these mouthguards can top $1,000 out-of-pocket, which is a big spend. They’re also not guaranteed to work and generally don’t work quickly.

Another common medical treatment is to seek care from an orthodontist. They may recommend a mouth splint, braces, a retainer, or tooth-straightening treatments. Again, this can be quite costly, sometimes painful, and take quite a while before you see results.

With orthodontics, you have to return to the office for check-ups and likely change your eating habits. Certain foods can break braces, and you’ll have to steer clear of foods and candy that are sticky or gooey. If something goes wrong, you’ll have to pay to fix the devices again. Many people also don’t like the look of braces.

With retainers and teeth straightening processes, you must remember to take them out before eating, clean your teeth before putting them back in, and sanitize the devices. You can’t skip any days, or the treatment is far less likely to work. This can become tedious and time-consuming, and many find it challenging to keep up long-term.

Chiropractic Care

When visiting a chiropractor, many patients report experiencing at least some pain relief immediately after just one visit. There are no unsightly devices in your mouth that you have to worry about maintaining.

Furthermore, traditional orthodontic treatment doesn’t address anything but your mouth. When you see a chiropractor, you know you’re getting whole-body care. Chiropractors address muscles and ligaments, target specific areas using specialized instruments, and ensure that your spine and jaw align for optimum relief.

Additionally, chiropractors offer a more comprehensive range of services than an orthodontist. You can get multiple treatments in one place, with many providers offering massage therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, E-STIM, and more. This makes the process simple, straightforward, and more comfortable.

How Stress and Tension Can Contribute to TMJ Disorders

While we know that TMJ is a common condition that results from various causes like injury, grinding teeth, and chronic health conditions, stress, and tension can also contribute to the problem.

Our jaw muscles are closely connected to the nerves in our bodies that stimulate the innate fight-or-flight response. When your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, it’s because your brain senses something dangerous or frightening. This causes your muscles to tense up as you prepare to stay and fight or run away. Flight-or-flight is a physical response as old as man, meant to be a survival tactic.

People with anxiety or those who frequently find themselves in stressful situations are more likely to enter this state. This means your muscles tense up more frequently, which affects the muscles around your jaw. It can also cause excessive teeth clenching, aggravating symptoms of TMJ.

When this reaction happens repeatedly, the muscle tension pulls your jaw bones out of alignment. When this happens, pressure increases on the TMJ point, which leads to pain. While the bodily response is perfectly normal, it’s not always helpful and has adverse effects on many body parts–including your jaw.

Those who are under significant amounts of stress often engage in subconscious behaviors. These can include nail biting, foot jiggling, and teeth clenching. This teeth clenching is usually accompanied by night-time teeth grinding, which irritates the jaw bone and muscles. It can cause TMJ or worsen symptoms over time without proper care and treatment.

Stress and tension cannot only exacerbate the existing symptoms of a TMJ diagnosis but also cause the condition. Many people don’t associate this type of stress or tension with TMJ but consider looking into treatment if you’re experiencing symptoms.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Can chiropractors help TMJ? At ChiroCare of Florida, we have providers specializing in this treatment to help you find relief quickly and maintain your comfort with non-invasive treatment.

Once you begin chiropractic care for TMJ, your jaw joint and face will start to feel better, and you’ll also sense less tension and pain in your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Your headaches are likely to lessen and may disappear entirely over time.

We have ten convenient offices throughout South Florida, and our providers have over 100 years of combined experience. We’re the chiropractic care center that countless residents choose for treatment. With evening hours and weekend appointments available upon request, we make it easy to schedule visits that fit your routine.

Call us today at (877) 388-2165 today or complete our online form, and we’ll reach out as soon as possible.

Related Articles
Rear view of a woman reaching over her shoulder to rub her upper back. A red spot indicates radiating pain.
How To Get Rid Of That Knot in your Shoulders That Won’t Go Away
Sometimes, your shoulder knot will resolve on its own fairly quickly. You may wake up with a knot that's gone by the end of the day or disappear by the next. Fast pain relief is always great. Other times you may get a knot in a shoulder blade that won't go away no matter what you try. It can last for days, affecting your sleep, daily workouts, and even the simplest of tasks uncomfortable. Sometimes the pain becomes unbearable.
Man lying awake in bed with a digital clock showing that it's 3:41 a.m.
Improving Sleep Patterns and Insomnia with Chiropractic Care
Fighting insomnia can seem like an uphill battle. Sometimes, no matter what you do, the symptoms just don't disappear. Seeking chiropractic care can help alleviate symptoms and get you that great night's rest you need. Learn more here.
Man in light blue shirt, wearing glasses, staring at a laptop as he massages his temples with his fingertips.
Exploring Chiropractic Care as a Holistic Approach to Mental Health
Mental health can present with secondary symptoms of physical pain. Chiropractic care is an amazing holistic way to treat this pain without medications or invasive methods. Learn more here.
Get the Latest News About
ChiroCare of Florida
Subscribe Background