Up to 12% of the population suffers with some type of temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJD. Dysfunction with the TMJ can cause different symptoms in different people, making it a difficult condition to address. TMJD sufferers may experience facial pain, difficulty opening the jaw, grinding of the teeth, sensitive teeth, clicking or popping of the jaw, and difficulty with chewing.
There are several better-known causes of TMJ disorders. These include:
- Misalignment or erosion of the disk within the joint
- Damage to the cartilage due to arthritis
- Injury to the jaw from an impact or blow to the face or head
- Long-term grinding or clenching of the teeth
There is another potential cause of TMJ problems that, while lesser-known, is helping many TMJD sufferers find lasting relief.
Your TMJ and Your Atlas Vertebra
There are some instances when TMJ dysfunction can resolve on its own with self-care options. When this doesn’t happen, or when your relief is just temporary, then it’s likely that something else is to blame for the problem. As with any health condition, it is much better to target the root cause rather than just address each symptom as it arises. In the case of TMJD, what many people don’t realize is how closely related the jaw joint on each side of the face is to the uppermost vertebra in the spine. Any small shift of the atlas vertebra can affect muscle tension in the jaw and face, and create a disturbance in the way the jaw functions.
At True Alignment Chiropractic, we use the NUCCA technique, which is known for its gentle, specific atlas corrections. Once the atlas is seated in its proper place, it can relieve unequal and abnormal pressure on the TMJ. This can lead to the restoration of normal movement of the jaw, thereby reducing the pain and discomfort associated with chewing, talking, and yawning.
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