A lot of people ask me if it helps to see a chiropractor for TMJ problems. I say, it can. And the reason is this. A chiropractor’s job is to get the spinal joints moving properly at every level.
When the spinal joints of the neck are in the right position and moving properly, it reduces the chance of irritation on nerves and blood vessels. Some of those nerves and blood vessels feed the muscles of the face and jaw; therefore if they are functioning properly, the jaw can benefit.
Also, you have to think of muscles themselves; they are connected to bones. If neck vertebrae of the spine are stuck and not moving in their normal joint planes, muscles can get too tight or too lax, both of which can cause spasms, neck pain and affect TMJ function.
But after years of experience, I believe the quickest way to TMJ pain relief is by wearing a mouth guard while sleeping at night. Why? Because the number one cause of TMJ pain is the grinding or gritting of one’s teeth at night. (folow this link to learn more about TMJ night guards.)
When people grind or clench their teeth while sleeping (bruxism), the parts of the jaw joint get irritated and inflamed. The TMJ meniscus or disk often gets distorted in its relationship to the jaw joint.
Then people can experience clicking or popping of the jaw. Some patients even suffer from a locked jaw, where the mouth won’t open up. It makes it very difficult to eat, and the jaw can be injured if it’s forced open.
Headaches and ringing in the ears are also common symptoms of TMJ syndrome. Any or all of these symptoms can be greatly helped by wearing a good mouth guard while sleeping. The mouth guard prevents the clenching and grinding of teeth. And having the spine adjusted by a chiropractor can be beneficial, too.