TMJ disorder and jaw pain, Chiropractic care in Tokyo
For TMJ disorder and jaw pain
Symptom Navigator, San Smile Hachioji Chiropractic
TMJ disorder, improvement program
Jaw pain and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) are one of the most painful conditions. Symptoms of TMJ disorder may include a grinding sound when opening the mouth, discomfort around the jaw, pain in the cheeks, and pain around the ears. The cause of TMJ disorder may be an imbalance in the jaw joint due to misalignment of the spine and skull.
In the past few years, we have seen a great increase in the number of patients coming to our clinic with complaints of TMJ disorder along with autonomic nervous system symptoms such as autonomic nervous system symptoms such as shoulder stiffness, neck pain, headaches, and insomnia. It is said that modern people chew much less than people in the past due to the increasing preference for soft foods such as bread and other snacks.
It is also said that not chewing food well has become an unconscious habit, resulting in reduced development of jaw muscles and bones, and weakening of cartilage and other surrounding tissues.
Maintaining a slouched posture with a rounded back for extended periods or adopting an imbalanced posture during meals can exert excessive stress on the joints around the neck and jaw.
We believe that the increasing number of people who look at their phones with their heads tilted downward, or who eat with a slumped posture or leaning forward, may contribute to the onset of TMJ disorder.
Furthermore, a diet high in carbohydrates and excessive intake of sugar can lead to fluctuations in blood sugar levels after meals and an increased secretion of hormones that overstimulate the sympathetic nervous system. This can result in sweaty hands and feet, muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, teeth grinding, and clenching of the jaw.
At San Smile Hachioji, only staff who have studied at chiropractic universities that meet WHO standards will perform treatments. With the expertise and the latest techniques learned through various seminars and post-graduate education, we are fully equipped to address not only TMJ disorder and jaw-related concerns but also other problems related to TMJ disorder.
We provide comprehensive evaluation of your physical condition, including secondary symptoms caused by TMJ disorder such as headaches, shoulder stiffness, dizziness, neck pain, facial pain, indigestion, stomach pain/heartburn, constipation, and insomnia. We are here to help you to identify and address the root cause of your pain and discomfort.
What is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
TMJ refers to a general diagnostic term for a group of chronic conditions characterized by pain, abnormal sounds in the joints, and disorders of jaw movement or chewing muscles. It encompasses various conditions such as “masticatory muscle disorders,” “joint capsule and ligament disorders,” “joint disc disorders,” and “osteoarthritis”.
The majority of TMJ cases involve disorders of the jaw joint and its associated muscles (chewing muscles). Diagnostic criteria for TMJ disorder (The Japanese Society for Temporomandibular Joint Research) is defined as pain, abnormal sounds in the joints, and difficulty in opening the mouth or abnormal jaw movement in the temporomandibular joint and chewing muscles as the main symptoms, excluding other conditions that present similar symptoms. For more information on the definition and diagnosis of TMJ disorder, click here…
Lifestyle Habits that Can Cause TMJ disorder and Jaw Pain
- Prolonged computer work and excessive smartphone use.
- Eating while using a smartphone.
- Eating while watching a TV screen in a specific direction.
- Habit of clenching teeth, sweaty hands, and easily tensed muscles.
- Nighttime teeth grinding and clenching.
- Tendency to tense the muscles in the shoulders and neck.
- Resting the chin on the hand.
- Sleeping on the stomach or in a similar position.
- Preference for consuming soft foods since childhood.
- Undergoing orthodontic treatment or dental procedures for a long period.
- Body misalignment due to a foot fracture or foot injury.
- Impact to the head, such as boxing punches or soccer heading.
Common Symptoms Frequently Reported by Those with TMJ disorder and Jaw Pain
- Cracking or popping sounds around the jaw when opening the mouth.
- Inability to fully open the mouth.
- Experiencing pain in the jaw when chewing hard foods.
- The jaw shifting to one side when opening the mouth.
- Jaw pain spreading to cause headaches.
- Pain around the ears, eyes, and temples.
- Inability to chew properly due to jaw pain, leading to gastrointestinal discomfort.
- Experiencing recurrent constipation or diarrhea.
- Lack of sleep, insomnia, frequent nighttime awakenings.
- Simultaneous jaw pain, neck pain, and shoulder stiffness.
- Frequent clenching of the jaw due to tension.
- Difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and increased thirst.
Causes of TMJ Pain
TMJ disorder is defined as a condition characterized by pain, abnormal sounds in the joints, and disorders of jaw movement or chewing muscles, while excluding other conditions that present similar symptoms (The Japanese Society for Temporomandibular Joint Research).
At Sun Smile Hachioji, we address concerns related to jaw pain caused by muscle disorders associated with chewing, limited mouth opening due to muscle imbalance, jaw movement abnormalities (inability to fully open the jaw or deviation to one side), and joint sounds such as cracking when opening the mouth.
Many issues related to the jaw joint stem from spinal misalignments such as cervical spine and pelvis, cranial misalignment (bones in the head and face), and muscle tension or weakness in the jaw and neck. Chiropractic adjustments to correct misalignments and muscle treatments can be effective in addressing these problems.
Jaw pain, headaches, pain around the cheeks, and pain around the eyes may be related to jaw issues.
If left untreated, improper use of the jaw due to pain can further disrupt chewing function and potentially damage the jaw joint cartilage and bones. Therefore, early intervention is crucial to restore normal chewing function.
Relieving Painful TMJ with Effective Muscle Care
The muscles involved in chewing are located deep within the head, making direct external contact difficult in many cases. Muscle tenderness (pain when pressed or touched) is often observed.
Therefore, as an alternative to manual techniques, using tools like IASTM (instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization) or percussors for myofascial release, applying low-level laser therapy (LLLT) for thermal and pain relief, and targeting LLLT at the trigeminal ganglion can be highly effective.
The red light of LLLT can penetrate up to 5 centimeters deep into the body, providing a relaxation effect on muscles that cannot be achieved through external massage or myofascial release. Additionally, LLLT irradiation on arteries and lymphatic vessels promotes blood circulation, facilitating waste metabolization and promotes early pain relief. LLLT is an excellent treatment with no side effects and no associated pain during the procedure.
Alignment of Teeth and Occlusion
The alignment of teeth and occlusion (how the teeth come together) can vary greatly among individuals. However, when someone has TMJ disorder or an imbalance around the jaw, it may also affect their occlusion. At Sun Smile Hachioji, we have received feedback from patients that the function around the jaw joint improves and their occlusion changes through the adjustment of the jaw and cervical spine alignment, as well as balancing the jaw muscles.
For individuals who wear mouthguards to prevent tooth wear, have habits of clenching or teeth grinding, and experience other related issues, it is important to address the underlying causes behind their jaw concerns by examining skeletal misalignments in the neck and pelvis, cranial misalignment, and muscle imbalances. This can help prevent tooth wear and alleviate problems such as clenching and teeth grinding.
Orthodontic Treatment and Dental Care
Orthodontic treatment in dentistry often takes several months to several years, and during this time, many patients come to our office complaining of neck pain and jaw pain. This can be attributed to the changes in the neck and jaw movement function and strain on the neck due to the alteration of dental alignment.
For example, when you start wearing new shoes, you may feel discomfort in your feet, knees, or experience lower back pain. When there are changes in movement or skeletal alignment in one part of the body, it often leads to changes in other areas through the kinetic chain.
In particular, the jaw, neck, head, pelvis, and feet have highly developed sensory nerves that provide delicate control to maintain the overall sense of balance in the body. In chiropractic care, muscle testing and postural assessment are used to evaluate the balance of movement throughout the body, including the jaw and neck, and then provide treatment tailored to the individual’s condition.
For patients undergoing orthodontic treatment, chiropractic and osteopathic care can be performed in conjunction with orthodontic treatment to reduce stress and strain on the jaw and neck by adjusting the overall skeletal and muscle balance.
＊TMJ and Jaw Pain Relief ＊Treatment Fees
Customized Chiropractic Care
(including Functional Neurology, Applied Kinesiology, Cranial Corrections, and more)
Initial Treatment Fee: 5,300 yen / 50-60 minutes (includes examination and treatment fees)
Subsequent Treatments: 5,800 yen / 30 minutes
＊TMJ and Jaw Pain Relief Treatment Fees
Combination of Chiropractic Care & Near-Infrared Light Therapy
(including Visceral Alignment, Meridian Therapy, Spinal Correction, Muscle Adjustment, and more)
Initial Treatment Fee: 7,400 yen / 50-60 minutes (includes examination and treatment fees)
Subsequent Treatments: 7,900 yen / 30 minutes
*For those experiencing muscle and joint discomfort related to TMJ, jaw pain, headaches, dizziness, neck pain, and chronic shoulder stiffness, combining LLLT (Near-Infrared Light Therapy) treatments such as Superlizer and Rumix2 with chiropractic care can help accelerate recovery.
*If you have any medical examination data from hospitals (MRI, X-ray images, blood tests, etc.), please bring them with you during your visit as they can be helpful references during the treatment.
*If you are suffering from TMJ, jaw pain, jaw clicking sounds, cheek pain, or inability to open your mouth, please don’t hesitate to consult with us. We recommend addressing these issues as early as possible.