Temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the joint where the jaw hinges to the skull just in front of the ear. This joint is held together by a complex system of muscles, tendons, and ligaments which help it move up to 2000 times a day, making it the most active joint in the body. Symptoms of TMJ disorder include clicking or popping in the jaw, headaches, earaches, neck pain, and sensitive teeth.
The causes for TMJ disorder are many, including dental problems, whiplash injury to the neck, grinding and clenching teeth, and injury to the jaw. Regardless of the cause, there is almost always involvement of the neck muscles.
The prolonged contraction of the jaw and neck muscles can produce vertebral misalignments in the cervical spine. When the spine is misaligned, it can irritate nerves causing irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches, pain or numbness in the arms and hands, and backaches.
Chiropractic, using specific adjustments, carefully realigns the bones which cause the muscle spasms to relax.