Temporomandibular joint disorder, aka TMJD or simply TMD, happens as a result of the problem with the jaw, jaw joint, surrounding facial muscles and/or upper cervical spine and related neurology. TMD is catch phrase for a number of physiologic accommodations by the body. It is a stomatognathic adaptive motor syndrome. The body is accommodating to a number of potential stressors as mentioned above, including dental malocclusion and the relation of the head and neck position (2,4).
Signs may include the following:
- Radiating pain in the face, neck, or shoulders
- Limited movement or locking of the jaw
- Painful clicking or grating when opening or closing the mouth
- A significant change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
- Headaches, earaches, dizziness, hearing problems and difficulty swallowing.
Over the course of a day, your jaw joint can contract and relax over 1,000 times! For most people, pain or discomfort in the jaw muscles or joints is temporary, often occurs in cycles, and resolves once you stop moving the area (practically impossible). Some people with TMD pain, however, may develop chronic symptoms.
Your Doctor will conduct a case history and physical exam to aid in determining the cause of your TMD symptoms. Since TMD is such a complex issue, the case is typically co-managed with other specialists such as neuromuscular dentists and functional movement experts.
1. Blum CL, Panahpour A. TMD Chiropractic and Dentisty: Two Case Reports. J Chirop Ed. 2009;21(1): 104
2. Chinappi AS Jr, Getzoff H. The Dental-Chiropractic Cotreatment of Structural Disorders of the Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1995 (Sept); 18(7): 476-481
3. DeVocht JW, Schaeffer W, Lawrence DJ. Chiropractic treatment of temporomandibular disorders using the activator adjusting instrument and protocol. Palmer Center for Chiropiractic Research, Davenport, Iowa, USA.
4. Alcantara J, Plaugher G, Klemp DD, Salem C. Chiropractic care of a patient with temporomandibular disorder and atlas subluxation. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2002 Jan;25(1):63-70.
5. Hachney J, Bade D, Clauswson A: Relationship between forward head posture and diagnosed internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint. Journal of Orofacial pain. 7:386-389, 1993.
6. Lee WY, Okison JP, Lindroth J: The relationship between forward head posture and temporomandibular disorders. Journal of Orofacial Pain. 9:161-167, 1995.
7. Mannhemer JS, Rosenthal FM: Acute and chronic postural abnormalities as related to craniofacial pain and temporomandibular disorders. Dent Clin North Am 35:185-208, 1991.