TMJ Disorders: Why Does My Jaw Pop & Why’s It So Painful?
“My jaw has popped for the last 15 years and in one adjustment it’s totally gone?!”
This was the reaction from a patient at Ascent Chiropractic last week who didn’t even realize we could help with TMJ problems. She had actually come in because of a stiff and painful neck and just happened to mention how much her TMJ issues bothered her.
Is It a Problem If You Can ‘Pop’ Your Jaw?
The human body can come with plenty of random quirks. Shoutout to anyone who’s captivated friends by rolling the tip of their tongue into a tiny W. Being able to “pop” your jaw when you open your mouth wide is another physical oddity, but if you’ve ever done this, you know it feels… wrong.
And you’d be right. “Popping” of the TMJ joint isn’t normal, and it’s often accompanied jaw stiffness, trouble opening your mouth, feeling like your jaw is “locking,” a change in the way your upper and lower teeth fit together, and general jaw pain.
Did you know?
An estimated 1 in 12 people are affected by TMJ Disorders in the U.S. right now, and women are 4 times more likely to experience this than men. In the U.S. alone, TMJ disorders cause the loss of 550 million workdays and $30 billion of productivity each year.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. A joint is a connection between bones, so this joint connects the mandible (lower jaw) to the temporal bone (side of the skull). To feel this joint in motion, put your fingers in front of your ear and move your jaw around. Think of all the times you use this joint! Chewing, talking, yawning, and swallowing are all made possible by the temporomandibular joint.
Here’s where problems arise:
The makeup and movement of this joint is more complex than most other joints in the body. There are so many components and moving parts that can cause problems.
The joint’s anatomy – as well as its movement – is very complex. Because of this, it’s easy for small alignment problems in the joint to lead to pain in the jaw or face, popping or clicking during chewing, limitation of jaw movement, and even tension headaches.
What can we do to help?
At Ascent Chiropractic we use a gentle, non-thrusting adjusting technique along with soft tissue mobilization techniques and rehab exercises to correct the joint misalignments and muscle imbalances that are often the source of TMJ problems. To make an appointment today, call us at 262-345-4166 or use our online scheduling app.