314.395.4934 | 729 Old Frontenac Square, St. Louis, MO 63131

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) refers to conditions that adversely affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or surrounding musculature. According to the National Institute of dental and craniofacial research TMD affects an estimated 10 to 15 percent of Americans. The TMJ is a complex joint comprised of bone and muscle juxtaposed to cartilaginous tissues that allows for translational and rotational movements of the mandible. The articular disc within this joint is fibrocartilage that provides strength and flexibility. To support the high cell density in this disc and metabolically demanding joint function, synovial fluid bathing the joint provides nutrients and lubrication without which increased friction and shear stress will lead to disc degeneration.

Chiropractic treatments may alleviate some of the symptoms of TMD through manipulation of the jaw and muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joint, potentially relieving tension and pain. Our doctors at thrive for life recommend choosing non-invasive treatments first, rather than aggressive treatments, like surgery and implants.

Symptoms of TMD

  • Jaw pain
  • Grinding of the teeth
  • Jaw clenching
  • Tension
  • Clicking
  • Facial pain
  • Earache
  • Tension headaches
  • Neck and shoulder tightness
  • Low back pain and stiffness
  • Dizziness
  • Indigestion
  • Irritable bowels
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeping problems
  • General fatigue

The Functions of the Jaw Joint

Fight/Flight reactions, in times of perceived danger, cause the jaw muscles to automatically clench to protect the vulnerable jaw joint and skull. This also signals the spinal muscles to tighten to protect the neck and low back. This is part of the fight/flight reaction, although it should normally relax when the danger passes. If stress or pain levels are unresolved, it can get stuck in this chronically tight pattern. A person may experience jaw clenching, tension, headaches, grinding of the teeth or vague sense of anxiousness. Many people will report that it is just difficult to “relax and let go.”

How We Can Help

We use state-of-the-art scanning technology to measure nervous system function and progress throughout a patients care. This scanning technology allows use to see what root causes are contributing to the patients symptoms. The scans are done during the first visit for every patient as well as at the end of treatment plans to compare and demonstrate changes that were made during their care. In addition, the initial consultation includes a detailed history and chiropractic examination. The history includes any past illnesses or problems experienced, the details of the current complaint, and social and family health. During the chiropractic examination a series of tests are performed for specific areas of the body; including the spine and any extremities deemed necessary by one of our chiropractors.

Our chiropractors use specialized techniques with an emphasis on SOT (Sacro Occipital Technique). Other techniques include Diversified, Gonstead and CMRT (Chiropractic Manipulative Reflex Technique). Our doctors also have a background in soft tissue techniques (massage therapy) and training in fascial movement taping. Our client demographic is very diverse including families, pregnant women, infants/toddlers and athletes of all ages. Our athletes vary from young athletes, weekend warriors, college athletes and professional competing athletes.

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