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TMJ Caused by Auto Injuries

TMJ Caused by Auto Injuries - El Paso Chiropractor


Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ, is a condition where pain and discomfort affect the joint and muscles of the jaw which control jaw movement. Individuals with TMJ experience symptoms of pain and tenderness in the jaw and around the ear, have difficulty and discomfort while chewing, and restricted mobility of the joint in the jaw when opening and closing the mouth. Although often occurring from unknown causes, jaw pain can commonly result after an automobile injury, including if there was no direct trauma to the jaw.

Temporomandibular joint disorder generally doesn’t appear immediately after the automobile accident, in fact, TMJ can sometimes develop weeks or even months after the collision.

What Causes TMJ?


Over the last 10 years, new research has found that TMJ and its well-known symptoms resulting after an auto accident could actually originate from neck complications. After a neck injury, the pain signals travel from the spine to the brainstem. In this process, the nerves from numerous areas of the body also travel into the brainstem where they will gather together before being transmitted to the pain centers of the brain. As the nerve signals converge, the various signals can become crossed and confused. Similar to the arm pain an individual experiences when suffering from a heart attack, in this case, the nerve signals from the heart gather together with those of the arm, causing the individual to feel pain in the arm rather than the actual source.

The nerves found on the jaw connect through the neck with pain receptors from the spine. As chronic pain signals from an automobile injury trigger an over-stimulation, an individual suffering from a neck injury such as whiplash can also experience pain in other areas of the head, including the jaw. The jaw then reacts to the constant symptoms of pain by tensing up the muscles surrounding the jaw, causing even more pain and discomfort.

TMJ Pain Eased by Chiropractic


Chiropractic care is an effective treatment option for individuals who’ve experienced damage or injury as a result of an auto accident. Whiplash, a common injury occurring during an auto collision, is a frequently diagnosed and treated condition by many chiropractors that can also cause symptoms of jaw pain. With the use of spinal adjustments, manual manipulation, and occasional stretches and exercises, a chiropractor can help a person with temporomandibular joint disorders and other neck complications recover from their injuries. By getting to the root cause of your pain, a chiropractor can get you back on the road to health.  

By Dr. Alex Jimenez


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