What Is The TMJ?
There is temporomandibular joint (TMJ) on each side of your jaw, that connects your jaw to your skull. These joints are small, but rather complex. There is a small disc that lies between the two bones, that allows the joint to move efficiently when it’s functioning properly. The joints roll and glide to allow us to talk, chew, yawn, etc. Pain in this area can be due to problems with the joint itself, with the disc or with the muscles that surround the joint.
Oakville Acupuncture: Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
There are a number of symptoms associated with TMJ dysfunction. Pain in this area can be due to trauma, genetics or arthritic changes. Individuals who grind their teeth, or clench their jaw are also more at risk of causing dysfunction in the TMJ. Signs and symptoms can include pain in one or both side of the face, headaches, difficulty chewing, clicking of the jaw, locking of the joint (in either an open or closed position).
Sometimes the only symptom of trouble in the TMJ is headaches in the morning. Waking up every day with a headache may be a sign that you are unknowingly clenching or grinding your teeth at night, and causing the jaw some distress.
A quick test for checking for potential problems with the TMJ is the ‘3 Finger Test’. It’s simple. If your jaw is healthy you should be able to fit 3 of your knuckles into your wide open mouth. If your jaw can’t open that wide, or catches and clicks on opening, it’s time to consult one of our Oakville acupuncturists!
Looking for a Dentist in Oakville for a Night Guard or Second Opinion about your TMJ issues — Check out Dental Works on Cornwall
At Home Treatment for TMJ and Jaw Pain
If your are experiencing difficulty with opening the jaw, there is a simple at-home trick you can use to try and remedy the problem. Using a cork, you can insert it between your teeth, trying to keep the muscles relaxed, and use the cork to try and promote a wider opening. Typically the cork can be left between the teeth for 30 seconds-3 minutes. You may have to trim the cork down in the earlier stages because the jaw range may not accommodate the full cork right away. Remember, the problematic side does not necessarily have to be the painful one. Insert the cork into the side that you have noticed has a limited opening, regardless of which side the pain is on.
Oakville Acupuncture Treatment for TMJ Pain.
The best treatment for TMJ pain is a combination of manual therapy and acupuncture. Manual care can consist of mobilizations, soft tissue work for the surrounding muscles and exercises. Our acupuncturist finds this combination is very effective at encouraging the joint to move like it is supposed to. What happens in acupuncture treatment with Dr. Jenn.
But what about the pain component? Of course, the manual therapy will help to decrease pain, but acupuncture can help decrease the pain even faster! Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins and other biological chemicals that help to alleviate pain. It has even been suggested that a major nerve bundle that is located around the TMJ, and can be responsible for some of the facial pain associated with TMJ disorder, can have it’s pain signals dampened by acupuncture.
Dr. Jenn is our acupuncture expert and has had great success in alleviating jaw pain with the help of acupuncture.
Treatment in Oakville for TMJ
There are so many tools our Oakville team have in their tool belts to treat jaw pain. After a thorough assessment and determining what the specific dysfunctions are, a combination of adjustments, soft tissue work and IFC can be used to treat your pain.
The muscles that we use to chew and talk can be very hardworking muscles. There are 4 muscles move our jaw the most, and soft tissue therapy can help relieve a lot of tension in those muscles. Holding the muscle while the mouth opens and closes helps to stretch tight muscles and reduce pain.
Did you know that headaches can also originate from the jaw? Releasing these muscles can help get rid of headaches, facial pain and jaw pain associated with a dysfunctional jaw.
TMJ Exercises you can do at home
If you’re experiencing jaw pain, book a visit with one of our Oakville acupuncturists and get started on relieving your pain now!
There are a number of exercises that you can do to help speed along the recovery process. After being assessed by Dr. Jenn, try the following exercises to help ease your jaw pain!