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Unlocking Relief: Chiropractic Care and its Impact on TMJ



Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, causing pain, discomfort, and limitations in jaw movement. While traditional approaches often focus on dental interventions, there's a growing recognition that the root cause of TMJ may extend beyond the jaw itself. 

Understanding TMJ and Its Origins

The temporomandibular joint is the hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. It plays a crucial role in activities like chewing, talking, and yawning. TMJ disorder occurs when there's dysfunction in this joint, leading to symptoms such as jaw pain, difficulty in opening and closing the mouth, clicking or popping sounds, and headaches.

While many factors contribute to TMJ, one often-overlooked aspect is the connection between the cervical spine (neck) and the jaw. The cervical spine houses the uppermost part of the spinal cord, and any misalignments or tension in this area can impact the nerves, muscles, and joints associated with TMJ.

The Neck-Jaw Connection

The intricate web of muscles, ligaments, and nerves that connects the neck and jaw means that issues in one area can affect the other. Misalignments in the cervical spine can lead to imbalances and tension that radiate into the jaw, contributing to TMJ symptoms. Additionally, poor posture, stress, and even trauma can exacerbate these issues.

Chiropractic Care: A Holistic Approach to TMJ

Chiropractic care focuses on the relationship between the spine and the nervous system, emphasizing the body's ability to heal itself. Chiropractors believe that proper alignment of the spine promotes overall well-being, and this extends to addressing conditions like TMJ.

  1. Spinal Adjustments: Chiropractors use manual adjustments to realign the spine, including the cervical spine. These adjustments aim to reduce tension and improve the function of the nervous system, potentially alleviating TMJ symptoms.

  2. Soft Tissue Techniques: Chiropractors may incorporate soft tissue techniques to address muscle tension and trigger points in the neck and jaw area. This can help relax the muscles and improve joint mobility.

  3. Postural Recommendations: Chiropractors often provide guidance on maintaining proper posture to prevent ongoing strain on the neck and jaw. This may include exercises and lifestyle adjustments to support long-term relief.

Case Studies and Patient Experiences

Several studies and anecdotal evidence suggest a positive correlation between chiropractic care and TMJ relief. Patients have reported reduced pain, increased jaw mobility, and overall improvement in their quality of life after undergoing chiropractic treatments targeting the cervical spine.


While dental interventions remain crucial in managing TMJ, exploring the connection between the cervical spine and jaw can open new avenues for comprehensive care. Chiropractic care offers a holistic approach, addressing the root causes of TMJ and providing relief through spinal adjustments, soft tissue techniques, and postural recommendations. If you're grappling with TMJ symptoms, consulting with a qualified chiropractor may offer you a path to a more comfortable and pain-free life.

Dr. Justin Foltz Founder of Pittsburgh Physical Medicine and practicing chiropractor for over 12 years.

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