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TMJ Chiropractor Columbia MO Near Me

TMJ Chiropractors in Columbia, MO

Natural TMJ Treatment: A Columbia, MO Chiropractor’s Perspective

If you thought chiropractic is just for back pain, neck pain, and headaches, you might be surprised to learn that we can also help with jaw pain, known as Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction or TMJ. 12% of the population has TMJ at any time, which is quite a lot. In fact, it is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders, second to back pain.

The jaw is a hinge-style joint. It is attached to the face by a series of strong muscles. When the jaw, cranials, and neck are properly aligned, the jaw can open, protrude, retract, and move from side to side. It does this in a smooth, flawless way that becomes almost subconscious. However, it’s not smooth or flawless for those with TMJ Disorder. This can cause pain in the jaw, trouble chewing and talking, headaches, neck pain, and inhibit your ability to think clearly. It really affects the whole person.

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Claim our new patient special where the first visit fees ($49) are covered by our clinic and donated to local charities. Your first visit includes x-rays (if medically necessary), a neurological exam, and a complete consultation.

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Correction requires realignment of the jaw and balancing the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the jaw, the neck, the cranium, and the whole person. It’s all connected. So our treatment approach must involve the whole person too.

The most common causes of TMJ pain and dysfunction involve muscle tension from stress, which is the most common cause, internal joint disorder or dislocation due to trauma, or degenerative joint disease like arthritis from a prolonged or chronic situation.

Risk factors for developing pain in the jaw may include a recent trip to the dentist, trauma to the jaw or upper neck, and frequent snacking on crunchy foods or chewing gum. When stress is allowed to run unchecked, it can result in clenching, which can cause muscle tension leading to TMJ.

In addition to managing the pain, treatment must include reducing risk factors like stress and chronic chewing, or the problem will likely return.

How Our TMJ Care Plan Works

1. Assessment

We begin with a thorough examination of the patient’s jaw alignment, neck, and posture. Evaluate range of motion, pain points, and potential contributing factors.

2. Manual Techniques

Utilize gentle manipulations to target affected jaw structures, including fascia, joints, and muscles. Employ mobilization and soft tissue techniques to alleviate tension and improve circulation.

3. Exercise Plan

Design a tailored regimen focusing on stretching and strengthening the jaw muscles, and jaw fascia. Emphasize gradual progression, providing exercises that enhance flexibility, stability, and overall jaw function.

Read Our Online Reviews

Based on 251 reviews
Kathy Lee
Kathy Lee
I fell on the ice. They got me in right away and also scheduled me for a follow up the next day. Now, I hit that ground hard when I fell, but I am still amazed at the speed and quality of my recovery after their careful care, evaluation and guidance.
Leslie Garcia
Leslie Garcia
Love getting adjusted and Dr Squires is amazing! All the doctors are great. I highly recommend coming here.
Jan Ritter
Jan Ritter
Love this place. They keep me healthy and pain-free.
Connie Coil
Connie Coil
I have been going to Family First Chiropractic for approximately 12 years. They have helped me through numerous issues and I will continue to use them for my chiropractic care.
Julie Borders
Julie Borders
Kind people. Very accommodating with scheduling changes.
Maria Trevor
Maria Trevor
I have been seeing Dr.Kelli for 11 years. Great help in alleviating pain and setting my back and neck straight. I see her monthly as part of my wellness routine, but I started with her due to back pain in late pregnancy. She has been absolutely wonderful over all these years!
Autumn Eads
Autumn Eads
My first appointment as a patient was amazing! Doctors are very thorough and strive to make everyone as comfortable and informed as possible. I’ve enjoyed my time working with these people.
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Common TMJ Symptoms

Jaw Pain

The primary symptom of TMJ is jaw pain with movements like talking, chewing, laughing, etc. It is also very commonly associated with neck pain and tension-style headaches, as the muscles that connect the jaw are closely related to the spine. The nerves from the upper neck supply the jaw muscles with motor function and must work properly for the jaw to work properly.

Popping and Clicking

Jaw popping or clicking may or may not be painful, but it is annoying and happens when the disc is displaced forward. Any opening or closing of the mouth causes the click or pop as the mandible contacts that disc. When the disc displaces forward, it prevents the mandible from translating to open the mouth fully. This can be very painful and limiting, requiring a person to eat only soft or liquid foods.

Jaw Clenching

Clenching is both a symptom and a risk factor for developing TMJ. It is usually the result of excess stress, anxiety, worry, or anger, though it may be related to tightness and adhesions that develop in the muscles around the jaw. Clenching can contribute to conditions like tension headaches. Adopting a yoga practice, meditation, progressive relaxation, modifying lifestyle habits to reduce stress, or wearing a mouth guard to protect your teeth and jaw, are great strategies to reduce stress and deal with clenching.

Difficulty Chewing

Difficulty chewing due to pain or limited range of motion is another TMJ symptom and can decrease quality of life and food enjoyment. Temporarily avoid excessive snacking, chewing gum, and biting crunchy foods while going through treatment to correct the underlying cause.

To summarize, much can be done to alleviate the symptoms of TMJ disorder, but you must address the underlying cause of joint dysfunction and muscle tension by working with a chiropractor who focuses on working with and correcting the root cause. While going through treatment, modify your diet by eating softer foods. Use a cold pack to help ease the pain. Soft tissue massage and jaw stretches will also help with TMJ pain relief.

Check Out Our Location Near You

550 East Green Meadows Rd, Ste 101, Columbia, MO 65201

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How We Treat TMJ Dysfunction in Columbia, MO

You can expect your first visit to our office to take anywhere from 45 mins to an hour. Expect a detailed conversation with your doctor about what you are experiencing, the potential causes, and a treatment plan to not only feel better temporarily but to correct the problem as much as possible.

Your doctor may also recommend eating softer foods, avoiding snacking, using an ice pack, and doing gentle stretches to help manage your discomfort.

You may receive an X-ray to see the relationship of the upper neck to the jaw, which are very closely related and share a number of muscles. Once your doctor has made a diagnosis, you’re treatment plan will likely involve a combination of adjustments and therapies to correct your problem, including soft tissue massage, a gentle scraping technique, and realigning the jaw, the spine, and the cranial bones so that you and your TMJ can function as it should.

Content Written by Dr. Kelli Winarski | DC, Pediatrics and Pregnancy Certified, ART (Active Release Techniques) Full Body Certified, NBCE, National Board of Chiropractic Examiners Part I-IV & Physical Therapy
Content Reviewed by Dr. Collin Zeugin | DC, NBCE, National Board of Chiropractic Examiners Part I-IV & Physical Therapy

Have Questions About Working with Our Chiropractors?

Please, don’t let your questions go unanswered. If anything is unclear, please ask! Contact us today!


New Patient Special

Claim our new patient special where the first visit fees ($49) are covered by our clinic and donated to local charities. Your first visit includes x-rays (if medically necessary), a neurological exam, and a complete consultation.

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