TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. This joint is located where the lower jaw attaches to the skull. When there are problems in the TMJ it is generally referred to as TMD or temporomandibular dysfunction. This is a blanket term to describe pain and/or popping of the jaw and its associated structures. It is frequently associated with headaches, neck pain and ear pain. In some cases, the pain can become so severe that it begins to stab as in the case with Trigeminal Neuralgia.
Physical trauma to the jaw is a leading cause of TMD. A hit in the jaw during a sporting activity or overuse syndromes, such as chewing gum excessively or clenching of the teeth may cause jaw pain and require TMJ treatment.
While emotional stress itself is not usually a cause of TMD, the way stress manifests itself physically throughout a person’s body can be. When people are under psychological stress, they may grind their teeth and tighten up the muscles in their neck which can be a major factor in TMD. Many times problems in a person’s neck are directly related to TMD and vice versa. That’s why Dr H’Doubler will look for fixations in this region as well when a patient presents with TMD.
Adjustments to the temporomandibular joint are usually applied with a chiropractic adjusting tool. This is a handheld device that applies a very specific, adjustable force. It can be used in the spine but is especially effective for TMD.