Many people have jaw pain or clicking. A lot of people go to their dentist or mention it to their medical doctor, but have never thought about seeing a chiropractor! Chiropractors have extensive education in anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics, and are experts in treating musculoskeletal problems – including muscles and joints around the jaw.
The jaw area is made up of the bones around the skull, the mandible (where your chin is), and two temporomandibular joints (TMJ). There are discs between the joints, similar to the spine. There are also many muscles around these bones and joints, which help in chewing, moving the jaw, and facial expression. Like any other muscles and joints in the body, these muscles can also undergo stress and as a result can become irritated resulting in pain or discomfort when opening the mouth, chewing, or talking.
So what can a chiropractor do? Your chiropractor will likely perform a thorough assessment to determine the structures involved in your jaw pain, whether it’s the muscles, joint, disc, ligaments, or something else. If your cause of TMJ pain is musculoskeletal, your chiropractor will likely recommend treatment including soft tissue therapy for the muscles, joint manipulation, and/or modalities such as microcurrent, ultrasound, or vibration therapy. If you’re not a candidate for chiropractic therapy, further evaluation from your dentist or medical doctor might be recommended.