How Chiropractic Temporormandibular Joint (TMJ) Adjustment and Low Level Laser Therapy Are Effective Treatments for the Pain and Discomfort of TMJ/TMD
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that as many as 10 million people have temporomandibular joint disorders. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD, TMJD) is the umbrella term used to describe the pain, discomfort and dysfunction of the masticating muscles (the muscles that move the jaw) and the temporomandibular joints (the joints which connect the mandible [jaw] to the skull). Symptoms of TMD present as:
pain in the jaw joint or masticating muscles
restricted mandibular (jaw) movement
aberrant movement on opening or closing the jaw joint
clicking, popping or grating noises from the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) while the jaw is moving
Symptoms of TMD can become chronic and challenging to manage and can erode one’s overall sense of well-being. The dysfunction may be caused by head or neck injury, skeletal malformations, lack of proper nutrition, psychosocial factors, and disturbed sleep involving jaw clenching, and the involuntary or habitual grinding of teeth.
Chiropractors are able to not only help with TMJ but offer exceptional relief of TMJ by first alleviating tension and dysfunction in the spine. Once the spine is corrected, pressure on certain nerves is released which can, in turn, alleviate TMJ pain. Dr. Wagner also has training on adjusting the TMJ joint itself with instrument adjusting and has specific rehab exercises assigned to each patient based on joint dysfunction.
Low level laser therapy (LLLT)(2) can also be very effective in treating TMD. The basic effects of LLLT are bio-stimulative, regenerative, analgesic and anti-inflammatory. It is advantageous to use LLLT in the treatment of TMDs because it is non-invasive, cost effective and has no known side-effects.
In the scientifically documented study, Effectiveness of low-level laser therapy in temporomandibular joint disorders: a placebo-controlled study, the researchers come to the following conclusion:
We use instrument adjusting of the jaw and low level laser therapy to successfully treat our patients at Wagner Chiropractic. After the adjustment of spine and jaw, we are able to offer a dramatic range of motion increase to and decrease of pain in the affected/injured areas and have realized excellent success in the treatment of TMD.
either of a pair of bones that form part of the side of the skull on each side and enclose the middle and inner ear
sometimes also referred to as low level light therapy or photobiomodulation (PBM)–a low intensity light therapy
Fikácková, H, et al. “Effectiveness of Low-Level Laser Therapy in Temporomandibular Joint Disorders: a Placebo-Controlled Study.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Aug. 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17803388.
Pavia D. C., Steven, et al. “Chiropractic Treatment of Temporomandibular Dysfunction: A Retrospective Case Series.” Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, U. S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Dec. 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4688559.