Your jaw is among the most complicated joints in your body. It has a broad range of motion. It can open and close, move side to side, and slide forward and backward. All of these motions are utilized during talking, chewing, and yawning. The jaw joint is commonly referred to as the TMJ or temporomandibular joint. There are many reasons why the jaw may not be functioning properly, and that can lead to pain and discomfort, as well as other associated symptoms.
The way people experience TMJ dysfunction can vary greatly:
Tenderness in the muscles of the face and jaw
Because of the variety of symptoms that a person with TMJ problems can experience, it can be difficult to find a way to address the root cause. Recommendations often include pain medications or anti-inflammatories, and perhaps being fitted for a bite guard. These approaches, unfortunately, provide only surface-level relief.
Upper Cervical Care and the TMJ
The focus of upper cervical chiropractic is on the upper two vertebrae in the spine. What many people may not realize is how closely positioned these vertebrae are to the joints of the jaw on each side. Because of this, even a slight malposition of the atlas (C1) or axis (C2) can affect the jaw's ability to work properly. Given the fact that many people who suffer from TMJ pain or discomfort also have neck pain and headaches, it makes sense that the jaw and the neck are connected. The upper cervical chiropractic approach is designed to be extremely specific. Adjustments are very gentle and do not use a great deal of force to accomplish the necessary correction. When the upper cervical spine is realigned, the surrounding nerves and soft tissues have the chance to heal. This can lead to a jaw that moves and works the way it was designed to.