Can Chiropractic help with TMJ pain?

How does a chiropractor realign your jaw?

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction more commonly called TMJ can be debilitating for patients. Not only does it cause problems with eating, talking, and sleeping, but the pain in the face can also really cause issues. Upper cervical chiropractic is a type of chiropractic care that deals with the very top of the spine. It can really change the outcome for these patients.

The way that upper cervical chiropractic works to help with jaw pain is by first aligning the skull, atlas (C1), and axis (C2) to bring about structural alignment and take away both mechanical and nerve interference in those areas. To understand a little bit about how these works bring your head to one side so that you stretch your neck as far towards your shoulder as possible, and you will feel the tension build in your jaw. Now, when a patient has an upper cervical misalignment, it’s not such a big movement that we’re seeing but it’s a chronic, very small misalignment that disrupts mechanically how this area is functioning. 

What is the connection between TMJ and the cervical spine?

There’s been some interesting research that shows that not only does it change the way that the jaw is working, but even the way that the teeth come together. What we do as upper cervical chiropractors is evaluate the upper cervical spine by x-ray and deliver a precise adjustment to realign the upper cervical area. What we notice clinically is that for a vast majority of TMJ sufferers, that alone will help to change the amount of pain that they have.

Now, should that not be enough, we can also adjust the jaw itself, if necessary, of course, gently and precisely. In our office at HealthWorks Family Chiropractic, we use an instrument called an activator. Now, for the vast majority, about 85 to 90% of patients, do not require that second adjustment on the TMJ. But just simply realigning the top of the spine and maintaining that alignment will help to greatly reduce the TMJ pain that they’re having.

There is a section of dentistry, neuromuscular dentistry, that does a fantastic job working with the jaw, and some patients need that. Some patients need upper cervical care. Some patients need both, and we’ve had great success working in tandem with dentists that are also doing specific TMJ work.

Our promise to you

HealthWorks Family Chiropractic is dedicated to a comprehensive and specific approach to taking care of spinal and nervous system needs. Let us help you find out how taking care of the most important system in the body will create optimal health that will last a lifetime!  

If we find we’re not the best to help with your condition, we promise to refer you to someone who is.