What is Shoulder Pain? Shoulder pain involves discomfort in the shoulder joint or surrounding area.…
What is TMJ?
Temporomandibular joint disorders are a set of painful conditions caused by dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint, a hinge-like structure that connects the mandible (the lower jaw) to the temporal bones of the skull.
We often think of TMJ as being a disorder of the jaw joint, but it is actually a disorder of the entire TMJ complex, including the muscles and ligaments that facilitate proper function in the joint. TMJ dysfunction is caused by a variety of systemic and local causes, including certain types of stress, trauma impacts, and spinal alignment issues.
Signs and Symptoms of TMJ
At the onset of a typical TMJ disorder, patients usually experience pain in the area of the jaw joint, and may experience headaches, ear pain, and/or noise in the jaw. TMJ can also cause changes in chewing, biting, and jaw movements, as well as limited jaw opening, such as during yawning, talking, and chewing.
How the Upper Cervical Spine Effects TMJ
The upper cervical spine is the uppermost section of the spine, typically extending from the base of the skull to the base of the neck. In addition to stabilizing the head and neck and supporting an upright posture, the upper cervical spine is also responsible for initiating and modulating the activity of the muscles of the jaw and facial region.
When the upper cervical spine is out of alignment, it can cause imbalances to develop in the mastication muscle group, causing joint erosion, teeth grinding, jaw clenching, and muscle spasms. As these injuries compound, the muscles of the jaw and facial region can become chronically over-active (or under-active), resulting in a variety of TMJ-related symptoms.
How Our TMJ Treatment Works
At our office, we focus on correcting the upper cervical spine in order to restore proper function to the muscles of the jaw and facial region. The first step in our TMJ treatment program is to identify whether you are suffering from a misalignment in the upper cervical spine. To do so, our expert chiropractor, Dr. Hoefer, will examine your upper cervical spine using digital X-rays and cone-beam computed tomography scans.
After going over your scans, Dr. Hoefer will correct any misalignments by performing a series of gentle and precise chiropractic adjustments. In addition to correcting the upper cervical spine, our TMJ treatment program will also include a series of gentle, precise muscle and joint mobilizations, and/or exercises to help improve muscle function and joint mobility in the jaw and facial region.
If you’re looking for a natural treatment method for alleviating TMJ disorders, we can help! Dr. Hoefer services patients in Orange County, including Anaheim, Rancho Santa Margarita, Dana Point, San Clemente, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, and Santa Ana.