Conservative Treatment for Jaw Pain

Temporomandibular Dysfunction, also called TMD, can be a very painful condition. Symptoms can include jaw clicking, pain, stiffness or difficulty opening the jaw. In rare case, structural issues of the Tempomandibular Joint (TMJ) are to blame.  

However, mechanical problems of the jaw are much more common.  The good news is that these problems respond extremely well to conservative care.  

Muscle adhesion and trigger points around the jaw can not only become a source of pain but can also contribute to faulty TMJ mechanics.  As previously discussed, poor posture puts the TMJ at a mechanical disadvantage and must be treated for the jaw symptoms to fully resolve.  

Hands on manual therapy, to treat the soft tissues and joint manipulation, particularly to the cervical and thoracic spine, have a remarkably high success rate in treating TMD. 

If patients grind or clench their teeth, they must become aware of when they are and begin to minimize it throughout the day.  Micro-break exercises are prescribed to help with this.  If we suspect clenching or grinding is happening at night, we often work with their dentist with prescribing a dental night guard.


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Dr. Abel Shaw is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is also a Certified Provider of Active Release Technique. Dr. Shaw attended Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis Missouri where he completed his Doctor of Chiropractic degree. He has worked with athletes from the Missouri Baptist University, NAIA championship, women’s track and field team and has been the team chiropractor for Mary Washington University Athletics. Dr. Abel Shaw is an Army veteran and has run both cross-country and track and field at Shippensburg University.

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