Can Chiropractic help with TMJ?

TMJ

Chiropractors can help with TMJ (temporomandibular joint) issues through a variety of techniques aimed at reducing pain and improving function in the jaw joint. Here are some ways chiropractors may assist with TMJ:

Chiropractic Adjustments: Chiropractors can perform gentle adjustments to the jaw, neck, and spine to improve alignment and relieve tension that may be contributing to TMJ symptoms.

Soft Tissue Therapy: Techniques such as massage therapy or myofascial release can help relax tight muscles in the jaw, neck, and shoulders, which may be exacerbating TMJ discomfort.

Trigger Point Therapy: Chiropractors may utilize trigger point therapy to release knots or trigger points in the muscles around the jaw, reducing pain and improving range of motion.

Posture Correction: Poor posture can contribute to TMJ issues. Chiropractors can assess and address posture imbalances that may be impacting the alignment of the spine and jaw.

Customized Exercise Programs: Chiropractors may prescribe specific exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles supporting the jaw, helping to improve stability and reduce strain on the TMJ.

Nutritional Counseling: In some cases, dietary factors can contribute to TMJ symptoms. Chiropractors may offer nutritional guidance to reduce inflammation and promote healing in the jaw joint.

Stress Management Techniques: Stress and tension can exacerbate TMJ symptoms. Chiropractors may provide relaxation techniques or stress management strategies to help patients better cope with stressors that contribute to TMJ discomfort.

It’s essential for individuals experiencing TMJ issues to consult with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor, who can perform a comprehensive evaluation and develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to their specific needs. Additionally, chiropractors may collaborate with other healthcare providers, such as dentists or physical therapists, to ensure comprehensive care for TMJ patients.

Spinal Decompression Therapy

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Spinal decompression therapy is a method that gently stretches the spine to change its force and position. These changes take pressure off of the spinal discs, which act as cushions between the bones in your spine. Taking this pressure off the spinal discs results in possible reiteration of bulging or herniated discs as well as takes pressure off the nerves and others structures in the spine. With this pressure relieved, the movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient fluids will increase and disks can heal at a quicker rate.

This method is specific for disc bulges, disc herniations, disc extrusions, nerve pain, numbness and tingling caused by these conditions.

 

Rehabilitation

spinepost

Through the use of various stretches and exercises, rehabilitation is used to strengthen the parts of body that influence posture and movement. It is through practicing rehabilitation that we aim to correct poor posture  and imbalanced movements in a way the completely resolves the problem as well as minimizing the chance of their reoccurring in the future.

Nutritional Therapies

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Nutritional therapy is holistic in nature. This means that it is meant to treat the whole rather than the individual parts. Medicine often only treats the symptoms of a problem rather curing the cause of the problem. Nutritional therapy is designed to cure the cause of the problem. By combining science (biochemistry and nutrition) with naturopathy (natural, drug-free medicine), Nutritional therapy seeks to return each patient to a state of optimal health.

Acupuncture

Needles inserting into a patients arm

Acupuncture is a collection of procedures involving penetration of the skin with needles to stimulate certain points on the body. In its classical form it is a characteristic component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It has been categorized as a complementary health approach. According to traditional Chinese medicine, stimulating specific acupuncture points corrects imbalances in the flow of qi through channels known as meridians. Scientific investigation has not found any histological or physiological correlates for traditional Chinese concepts such as qi, meridians, and acupuncture points, and some contemporary practitioners use acupuncture without following the traditional Chinese approach.

“Acupuncture’s use for certain conditions has been recognized by the United States National Institutes of Health, the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, the World Health Organization, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. “

Wikipedia

The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that bodily functions are regulated by an energy called qi which flows through the body; disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for disease. Acupuncture describes a family of procedures aiming to correct imbalances in the flow of qi by stimulation of anatomical locations on or under the skin (usually called acupuncture points or acupoints), by a variety of techniques. The most common mechanism of stimulation of acupuncture points employs penetration of the skin by thin metal needles, which are manipulated manually or by electrical stimulation.

Needles inserting into a patients arm

  • Autism
  • Chronic asthma
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Cocaine dependence
  • Depression
  • Drug detoxification
  • Primary dysmenorrhoea (incorporating TENS)
  • Enuresis
  • Epilepsy
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Gynaecological conditions (except possibly fertility and nausea/vomiting)
  • Hot flashes
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Induction of childbirth
  • Myopia
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Shoulder pain
  • Schizophrenia
  • Smoking cessation
  • Acute stroke
  • and stroke rehabilitation
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
  • Tennis elbow
  • Uremic pruritus
  • Vascular dementia

Neck Pain

Neck pain, although felt in the neck, can be caused by numerous other spinal problems. Neck pain may arise due to muscular tightness in both the neck and upper back, or pinching of the nerves emanating from the cervical vertebrae. Joint disruption in the neck creates pain, as does joint disruption in the upper back. Two thirds of the population will suffer from neck pain at some point in their lives.

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Leg Pain

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body and one of the most common causes of leg pain. The term sciatica is used to describe the symptoms of pain occurring in the leg and lower back. Some use the term specifically to mean a nerve dysfunction caused by compression of one or more lumbar or sacral nerve roots from a spinal disc herniation. 

When the liquid center of a disc bulges outwards, herniation occurs. The bulged disc can then tear against external ring fibers, contact the spinal canal, and compress a nerve root against the lamina or pedicle of a vertebra. This causes sciatica. The liquid extruded when this happens can cause inflammation and swelling of the surrounding tissue which can further compress the nerve root into the confined space of the spinal canal.

Sciatic pain typically runs through the lower back and down the sciatic nerve through the leg and can even run all the way down to the foot. Numbness, tingling, burning, and pricking sensations are all symptoms that may occur in cases of sciatic injury.

Sciatica is caused by compression of lumbar nerves, sacral nerves, and/or the sciatic nerve. Sciatic damage can be permanent, thus it is important that you seek medical attention if you are suffering from these symptoms. 

Ice Therapy

The application of ice is an excellent way to reduce inflammation and temporary pain. Ice causes constriction in the veins of the affected tissue, limiting blood flow and acting as an anesthetic. Once the ice is removed, blood will rush back to the affected area providing nutrients that will help with the healing process. 

Ice therapy is often used in the treatment of back and neck pain. It lessens the severity of muscle spasms, reduces pain by causing numbness, and aids in lessening soft tissue damage. 

Ice or ice packs should be wrapped in a towel while being used for treatment. Ice therapy should be used on the affected area for 24 to 48 hours from the initial ache or injury. It is recommended to reapply it every 10 minutes for maximum affect and to not leave it on for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, Raynaud’s Syndrome, colds or allergic conditions, paralysis, or areas of impaired sensation should not use ice therapy. 

Heat Therapy

Most commonly used for rehabilitation purposes, heat therapy is the application of heat to the body for pain relief and health. It can be performed using something as simple as a heat to cloth to as advanced as ultrasound.

The therapeutic effects of heat include increasing the extensibility of collagen tissues; decreasing joint stiffness; reducing pain; relieving muscle spasms; reducing inflammation, edema, and aids in the post acute phase of healing; and increasing blood flow. The increased blood flow to the affected area provides proteins, nutrients, and oxygen for better healing.

Heat creates higher tissue temperatures, which produces vasodilation that increases the supply of oxygen, and nutrients and the elimination of carbon dioxide and metabolic waste. It is useful for muscle spasms, myalgia, fibromyalgia, contracture, and bursitis.Heat therapy can also be used for the treatment of headaches and migraines.

Heat therapy is only part of the therapeutic procedure that is chiropractic, and rarely provides a full extent of recovery without it. 

Heat therapy should not be used on swollen or bruised tissues. It is advised that patients who have dermatitis, deep vein thrombosis, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, open wounds, and cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension not use heat therapy.