One of the most commonly overlooked causes of temporomandibular joints (TMJ) pain is trauma to the upper cervical spine. Direct or indirect injury such as, motor vehicle accidents, sport injuries, and dental work have been shown to trigger TMJ disorders. Even subtle repeated traumas from clenching the teeth, excessive gum chewing, nail biting, or cradling phone between the side of the head and shoulder can cause TMJ pain. Trauma to the upper neck can cause a misalignment, which results in pressure and irritation on the trigeminal nerve. This irritation can cause the muscles that control the jaw to malfunction. The joints in this region do not work properly and can cause the neck and shoulder muscles to go into painful spasms during normal activities such as: eating, talking, laughing, or even smiling.
Symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction are: clicking or popping of the joints, pain with chewing, toothaches, facial and/or neck pain, headaches, earaches, tingling in face, ringing in ears, clogged ear feeling, and locking of the jaw.
Because of the close relationship between the TMJ and upper cervical spine, a misalignment in this region can cause this joint to malfunction and decrease one’s quality of life. A gentle and precise upper cervical adjustment can correct the misalignment at the top of the spine and allow the nervous system to function properly and may naturally reduce the symptoms of TMJ disorders. Consider upper cervical specific chiropractic care if you suffer from TMJ dysfunction.