Can Chiropractic Help My TMJ Pain?

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ, is a common condition that affects the jaw. It can be extremely painful and many people are turning to methods other than medication or surgery to relieve that pain. While lifestyle changes such as diet may help, chiropractic care has been cited as a viable treatment for TMJ pain.

At first, this may seem counter-intuitive simply because it is widely believed that chiropractors only treat the spine and neck. This commonly held belief is not entirely accurate. Chiropractors treat all joints, including the spine and neck. A chiropractor may treat ankles, wrists, knees, and, yes, even the jaw. Sometimes the neck and spine can be contributing factors and they can be treated with chiropractic care as well.

What is TMJ?
The joint that connects your jaw to your skull and allows you to open and close your mouth is the temporomandibular joint. When you have problems with the muscles or joint in that area it is called TMJ, or more accurately temporomandibular disorders, or TMD.

This disorder is characterized by pain and stiffness on one or both sides of the jaw. The jaw may also lock or get stuck in either a closed or open position. Patients may also notice a popping, clicking, or grating sound in the jaw when chewing, yawning, or when closing or opening their mouth. They may also have trouble chewing and even experience swelling.

Doctors don’t know what causes TMJ. It seems to be linked to trauma to the neck, such as with whiplash, but it also can be caused by:

Arthritis in the jaw
Grinding the teeth
Stress that causes clenching of the jaw
Movement of the disc, or soft cushion, that lies between the socket and ball of the jaw

Diagnosis and Treatment for TMJ
Many conditions can mimic the symptoms of TMD. After taking a medical history, we will check the joints in the jaw for popping, clicking, or grating sounds. We will also assess your pain or tenderness level and check for any stiffness. During the exam, we will assess the job and its ability to function properly. X-rays may also be a part of the examination.

If we can pinpoint the probable cause of the TMJ, we may prescribe certain treatments or make recommendations that will help. Medication is one option, mainly stress or anti-anxiety medication to help the patient relax. A night guard or splint is another option since it helps to put the teeth in the correct position. A splint is worn all the time and a night guard is worn only at night. Dental work is another option and in some more serious cases, surgery.

Chiropractic Care for TMJ
Chiropractic for TMJ is not only common, but very effective. When treating TMD, we will often perform computerized neck and/or spine adjustment as well as adjustments to the jaw. This means that the patient may experience pressure on their skull, jaw, upper spine, or neck as the we treat the condition. There are also soft tissue treatments that we may perform during the course of the treatment.
Bottom line, computerized chiropractic care is a safe, effective, and non-invasive treatment for TMJ.

So if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with TMD and/or are experiencing TMJ pain, give us a call. We are here to help!

 

Ouch! What is Facet Syndrome?

Facet joint syndrome is the most common of all the recurrent, low back and neck problems, which can cause serious and disabling pain for many people. At the most basic level, facet joint syndrome is a pain in the joint between two vertebra, and it can occur anywhere in the spine.

The spinal facet joints are in constant motion; providing the spine with stability and flexibility needed for walking, running, bending, sitting, and twisting. When a facet joint is damaged, from deterioration, injury or repetitive trauma, it can become swollen, painful, and stiff.

What are the symptoms of facet syndrome?

Lower back pain, numbness in the legs and arms, headaches, migraines, neck pain, pain that fluctuates with the weather, tenderness in the spine and pain when twisting or bending the spine. When the acute lumbar or cervical facet joint inflammation is at its peak, the symptoms may closely imitate those of a herniated disc, a deep infection, a fracture, or a torn muscle of the spine.  Facet joint problem symptoms typically include unpredictable pain throughout the month/year and more discomfort while leaning backward then while leaning forward. Low back pain from the facet joints often radiates into the buttocks and down the back of the upper leg. The pain is rarely present in the front of the leg, and rarely radiates below the knee or into the foot, as pain from a disc herniation often does; similarly, cervical facet joint problems may radiate pain locally or into the shoulders or upper back, and rarely radiate in the front or down an arm or into the fingers as a herniated disc might. Lastly, most people will have tenderness over the inflamed facet joints along with some degree of loss in the spinal muscle flexibility (referred to as guarding).

Risk factors for facet syndrome include:

  • 50+ years of age
  • Excessive weight
  • Overuse due to sports or heavy labor
  • Whiplash injuries, or sleeping with a twisted neck
  • Loss of the normal spinal curve and abrupt jerk of the neck, twisting while lifting overhead, or trauma to the spine
  • Presence of disease such as gout, other types of arthritis or infections.
  • Sitting for prolonged period of time without getting up and moving / stretching

How do we treat facet syndrome?

Good posture is the key component of relieving facet joint syndrome symptoms. We examine how you carry yourself so that we can determine how you can improve the way you sit, stand, and move about. We also look for compensation patterns in other parts of your body, and aim to relieve the pressure on both your back and the surrounding muscles that are strained from working overtime.

Chronic musculoskeletal pain often arises from functional pathology (such as facet joint disorder) which then leads to structural inflammation and disease. Chiropractic spinal manipulation has been shown to be one of the most effective ways in treating people with facet joint pain which causes lower back pain.

By: Dr. Larissa Woolston DC, MA

 

LASER

Revolutionary new treatment for pain using advanced medical technology!  We use ColdLaserTreatment2the 830 Laser as part of LLLT (Low Level Laser Therapy), also known as Cold Laser Therapy. It is a safe, painless treatment for numerous neuromuscular conditions and disorders.

Why Laser Therapy?

Around the world, laser therapy is rapidly becoming the choice for patients seeking painless, non-invasive, and drug-free treatments for a wide variety of injuries, pain syndromes, neurological conditions, and pathologies. It can heal wounds and fractures up to 60% faster and reduce the cost of treatment for many conditions.

How Does It Work?

The 830 Laser sends light (photons) into your injured tissues and penetrates from to 2-4 inches without being absorbed by the skin, fat, or blood. Once the photons find the injured tissue, they stimulate and energize the cells to repair and strengthen at a remarkably fast rate. The laser does not generate heat so it is safe for use anywhere on the body. The laser treatment does not wear off like most medicines, ice or heat. It increases your body’s own healing power and enhances the healing process. If you don’t reinjure the area, the pain should not return.

What Results Can I Expect From A Laser Treatment?

Reduced pain

A treatment can take from 2 to 30 minutes. Many factors, such as the severity and depth of the condition, will determine the duration of a treatment and the number of visits needed to provide the maximum amount of relief. Following a laser therapy session, approximately 75-80% of patients notice an immediate improvement in their condition. You may experience improvement after one treatment. Most conditions take between 2-12 treatments for complete alleviation of symptoms.

Reduced Inflammation

Most acute inflammatory conditions respond to Laser treatment immediately.

Increased Tissue Healing Laser treatments not only helps injured areas and wounds heal faster, it also makes them stronger and less vulnerable to re-injury.

Is Laser Therapy Safe?

Low Level Therapy is very safe. It is FDA approved and has been used for over 20 years internationally. Extensive documentation and studies have shown it to be effective and safe.

Is Laser Therapy Painful?

For most people, laser therapy is quite passive. 3-5% have reported a slight tingling or tapping in a nerve or on a nerve pathway. Some feel a slight sensation of warmth. The most noticeable sensation is of the probe head of the laser as it comes in contact with the skin. The majority of patients, however, feel ·nothing during a treatment.

Will Laser Treatments Provide Me With Long Lasting Results?

Laser therapy sessions speed up the healing process in the cells that can help create a stronger and longer lasting effect. Many patients’ conditions are permanently resolved after completing their treatment plans.

The Physiological Effects of LLLT

  • Biostimulation, including improved metabolism & increased cell metabolism
  • Improved blood circulation and vasodilatation
  • Analgesic effect
  • Anti-inflammatory and Anti-edematous effects
  • Relieves acute and chronic pains
  • Stimulation of wound healing

Benefits of LLLT to Users

  • Relieves acute and chronic pains
  • Increases the speed, quality and tensile strength of tissue repair
  • Increases blood supply
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Stimulates nerve function
  • Develops collagen and muscle tissue
  • Helps generate new and healthy cells
  • Promotes faster wound healing and clot formation
  • Reduces inflammation

Over 2,500 worldwide medical studies have shown safe, forever relief for:

  • Joint pain/ arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis/ heel spurs
  • Sprains/ strains
  • Tendonitis/ capsulitis
  • Post-operative/ injury pain
  • Swelling
  • Neuromas/ nerve pain
  • Wound/ surgical incision healing
  • Muscle pain/ contusions
  • Trigger points
  • Bone healing
  • Bursitis and more