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Jaw & TMJ Pain

ProActive Chiropractic provides expert chiropractic adjustments for Jaw Pain / TMJ.

Schedule an appointment today with our expert chiropractor for jaw pain and TMJ treatment in San Francisco, CA.

ANATOMY: 

The temporomandibular joint is one of the most complex joints in our bodies. It is a bi-arthroidal (synovial and condylar), hinge joint that consists of the condylar head of the mandible and the mandibular fossa of the temporal bone. There are four main muscles that surround the TMJ: the masseter (closes the mouth), temporalis (pulls the jaw back), lateral pterygoid (pushes jaw forward and side to side movement of the jaw), and medial pterygoid (closes the mouth). This joint makes it possible for us to talk, eat, and breathe to survive.

Injuries include:

  • Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD)
  • Uneven Bite or Lockjaw
  • Dental Work
  • Concussion
  • Stress
  • Headaches and Migraines  

A person with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction will experience popping or clicking in one or both of the jaw joints (located right in front of the ear).

Commonly, most people experience jaw pain or TMJ dysfunction if they clench or grind their teeth, after trauma to the face/head, or after dental work, braces or invisalign. Most recently, we have noticed a lot of TMJ issues associated with stress and wearing a mask. Check out our YouTube video regarding the jaw and TMJ.  

BACKGROUND:

Eight muscles work together to open and close the jaw. If any or all of these muscles aren’t working properly, they can cause an imbalance in the opening and closing motion, which can lead to pain and clicking in the jaw. Dysfunction of the TMJ can lead to these muscle imbalances and tension, which can lead to headaches and migraines.  

Headaches

  • Head and neck trauma
  • Hormones
  • Change in food 
  • Sinus infections from the cold or flu
  • Head, neck, facial, or jaw surgery
  • Stress, anxiety, depression
  • Change in medication  

Almost everyone experiences a headache at some point, and it only takes one to realize how awful they are. Headaches can present with a variety of symptoms, usually involving a decrease in energy, difficulty focusing or concentrating, as well as sensitivity to sound and light, just to name a few. 

Headaches can stem from a number of causes: fixations in the jaw, neck, tightness in the neck and shoulder muscles, dehydration, chemical reactions, among others.

If you experience frequent headaches, chiropractic adjustments, and soft tissue therapy at the jaw and upper neck can often help to reduce or eliminate your symptoms.

Our doctors will perform a thorough exam to find the cause of your headache then develop an appropriate treatment to eliminate the symptoms. 

The most common type of headaches for adults is “tension headaches.” It is often described as a tight band around the head or throbbing behind the eye. These headaches get worse with more activity and can be caused from neck and scalp muscle spasms.  

DIAGNOSIS:

After a detailed history, our doctors will perform a thorough exam determining how the muscles that move the jaw are functioning, then perform a treatment specific to those findings. This detailed approach is how our doctors are able to help our patients feel better, faster and more efficiently. We also work closely with your dentist to get to the quickest resolution. 

One common question we get is if we crack the jaw. The answer is no; Jaw treatment doesn’t consist of cracking the jaw but rather balancing the muscles of the jaw and the upper neck. 

Imaging:

Although we do not have an on-site imaging center, we are partnered with Radnet and SimonMed for all of your X-ray, MRI, CT Scan, and Ultrasound needs! If there are any red flags noted by the doctor, imaging can be necessary before performing any treatment to the jaw or neck.  

Frustrated by the pain and just want ease of mind to know what is actually going on in your body? The doctors at ProActive Chiropractic can provide you with a prescription to get imagining done if it is within reason with the assessment. 

Labs:

Sometimes the root of your condition is not structural. Inflammation, allergies, or deficiencies in our chemical make-up can keep us from recovering fully or quickly. We never want our treatments to plateau until you’ve reached your goals.   

Our office is conveniently partnered with LabCorp and Cyrex Laboratories to help better understand your diagnosis when needed. If our doctors believe that a blood and/or urine analysis will benefit your health, they will order these labs at generally a lower cost than what your insurance can. Our goal is to get you the most affordable and efficient comprehensive assessment possible to save you time and money.   

TREATMENT:

After a comprehensive examination to rule out any red flags and clear you for care at our office, Dr. Cohen and Dr. Chu will use their expertise to effectively treat you. 

At ProActive Chiropractic, we not only educate our patients on ways to take control of their healing process, but also help restore motion in the restricted joints that are causing pain at the upper neck and jaw. Our hands on approach will increase your flexibility, help circulate blood flow and nutrients to the area, and decrease your pain efficiently to get you back doing the things you love. 

Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy (CMT):

Scientific evidence proves that chiropractic techniques help patients by restoring joint mobility to provide proper functional movement patterns and balance out the nervous system. This decreases spasms, stiffness, and pain while promoting optimal health.

We have many options to address the structural components that contribute to your pain. We always consider our patient’s preferences first, so when it comes to corrective adjustments, we provide a variety of methods to achieve this goal. Our specialty is manual adjustments. We are experienced in high velocity, low amplitude manipulations to the joints of the body in order to deliver the most comfortable and effective adjustments.  

Our one-of-a kind chiropractic tables feature an automated drop piece that utilizes an air compressor to address the joint in both directions in a gentle way. It allows the doctors to adjust front to back and back to front. The drop piece is maneuvered by foot so there are no extra knobs at the side of the table allowing patients to move around comfortably.

Sometimes we discover smaller yet specific adjustments need to be made. For this, we use an innovative device, called the Activator, delivering a small impulse to the appropriate joint. Whether you love or are intimidated by the “cracks,” the doctors at ProActive Chiropractic will adjust to your preference while still administering the adjustments needed. 

Graston Technique and Fibroblaster Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) Tools :

When joints get stuck, the soft tissue structures around them suffer as well. When the muscles and connective tissues around the joint are not moving and gliding along each other, scar tissue and fascial distortion occurs. We have multiple tools of different sizes and shapes to help address these issues. 

Graston is a patent protected, innovative instrument that assists in soft-tissue mobilization, improving flexibility and decreasing pain by effectively breaking down fascial restrictions and removing scar tissue between muscles. Proactive Chiropractic is Graston certified and a Preferred Provider®. 

Fibroblaster IASTM Tools help our doctors diagnose and treat patients by providing controlled microtrauma to break scar tissue and fascial restrictions to restore full range of motion to keep you in the game.  

Functional Custom Orthotics and Shoes:

There are three main arches of the foot: the medial longitudinal arch, the lateral longitudinal arch, and the anterior transverse (metatarsal) arch. These three arches work together as a strong and supportive tripod, called the “plantar vault,” that helps evenly distribute our weight to obtain the maximal shock absorbency throughout our body to protect our bones, nerves, and joints although into the neck and jaw.  

The “righting reflex” or the “labyrinthine righting reflex” automatically corrects the orientation of our bodies so that our eyes are always level. The feet are the foundation in all of our weight-bearing activities so when they are not level, we subconsciously tilt different structures in our bodies to keep our eyes level. This results in overcompensations and under-compensation in various muscle groups. For example, if one arch is collapsed, that knee will internally rotate, which externally rotates the hip, rotating the pelvis, forcing the shoulder to drop on that side, resulting in our head tilting. This domino effect starts at the feet, but directly affects all the other joints of our bodies. This is why leveling out your feet is so essential in overall body health. 

In our office, we have paired up with the world’s leading provider of individually designed custom orthotics to use state-of-the-art technology to analyze the three arches of the feet, making sure the forces you put on them are distributed properly. If the 3-D foot scan detects an unleveling in any of the arches, customized orthotics will be manufactured just for you to rebalance your entire body. They fit a variety of shoes depending on your activity level, how much your feet sweat, and the kind of shoes you want them in. 

We never want to sell you anything that does not serve you. If your custom orthotics need to be tweaked to your liking or you do not like them for any reason after wearing them for 45 days, we will remake your orthotics or give you a full refund. Put your best foot forward and try them out! You have absolutely nothing to lose!  

Therapeutic Exercises:

Our journey to improve your health and wellness does not stop when you leave the office. At ProActive Chiropractic, we honor a mutual collaborative effort by our doctors and you, our patients. While in our office, we believe it is our job to manually correct the underlying source of your pain by adjusting and performing techniques that you would not be able to do on your own. We then encourage you to perform customized rehabilitative exercises at home, in the office, or at the gym to better hold the adjustments made. We believe in a team approach where the doctors will align and balance patients on the table, and patients do their part in building the right habits, muscles, and strength to hold those adjustments. These specific exercises help relax painfully tight muscles and build strength to key muscles groups which are imperative for spinal and jaw support. 

We understand that educating our patients on their condition and teaching them how to prevent it is key to success (see the video explainer to the right). We want our patients to know when to come into the office and when they can fix ailments on their own. Our goal is always to save you time and money.  

So many people think that if they can keep up with the latest Barry’s Bootcamp, Orange Theory, Rumble, P90X, Barre, Pilates, or Jiu Jitsu workout, that they have the proper strength to be out of pain. “I can deadlift 500lbs, run a 4.6 second 40-meter dash, and kill it in all my workout routines, so why am I in pain?!” The truth is that these people are great at compensating. To complete these workouts, they may be using their muscle groups improperly.  These workouts are often complex and work on the big “show-me” muscles that are usually overcompensated anyways. When the doctors at ProActive Chiropractic break these big muscle groups apart and muscle test each individual muscle, these athletes are often surprised at how “weak” their muscles are when separated from another. 

We constantly want to be a part of the newest workout routines, machines, tools, and fads. But is it good for us? These new trends are made to hype up new training licenses, not necessarily because they have been researched and proven to help improve health.  

The exercises given at ProActive Chiropractic are designed to focus on the smaller, undercompensated muscles that support the joints, ligaments, and deep muscles that help with posture and overall performance. The truth is that new workouts emerge for purposes of more certifications to promote the fitness business. They consist of complex movements that people cannot efficiently achieve without going back to the basics. You crawl before you walk, right? Same concept. 

Sure, you can perform these complicated exercises, but are you using the right muscle groups to perform them, or are you creating more of an imbalance and thus pain? Are you breathing correctly and can your brain connect to all the different muscles of your body so that one muscle group is not taking the brunt of the work for another muscle group? The doctors at ProActive Chiropractic will let you know! They will literally show and teach you the tools to perform these exercises properly, leaving you pain-free and even improve your posture.  

Understand that these are not glamorous, complex exercises you see at your workout class or on the newest feed on your IG or TikTok account. However, they are needed, effective, and present a challenge in that you have to rehabilitate your brain to connect to muscles that it has been neglecting for a long period of time. Check out some of our favorite therapeutic exercises on our YouTube channel! 

We are excited to help you get back to the movement you love, and by performing the prescribed exercises given by our doctors, we will get you there in no time! 

Kinesiology Tape:

Kinesio Taping is a rehabilitative taping technique to increase stability around hypermobile joints. Additionally, the tape offers better circulation to the injured area, reduction of swelling and inflammation, speedy recovery of overused muscles, and reduced muscle cramping.

We use different types of kinesiology and medical tape to suit your needs. When using tape as a brace, the doctors at ProActive make sure to give you the support you need while also allowing the surrounding muscles to properly engage so that your own muscle and body becomes a natural brace for itself as a result. Depending on allergies, sport, and how much you sweat, the doctors will use their expertise to know which tape and style of taping is needed for you!  

Denneroll Neck Orthotic

In addition to the hands-on services provided in the office, we also offer clinically proven products shown to reverse the damaging effects of trauma, age, and bad posture. The Denneroll is one of them. 

Normally, your cervical spine should present with a healthy curve (similar to a wide shaped “C”) that points toward the front of your body, called a lordosis. This allows our nerves, ligaments, and muscles to function properly. When we lose that cervical lordosis structure and our necks become more straight, it is considered an abnormal cervical lordosis or reversal of cervical lordosis. This can happen as a result of age, repetitive slouching, spending too much time in front of electronics in a sustained position, trauma, and even stress. It causes unwanted muscle discomfort and degeneration of discs, which can lead to nerve issues and intense jaw tension.  

The doctors here often get asked which neck hammock, traction devices, braces, supportive clothing, and reminder buzzers are best for pain associated with sitting at a desk all day. Although there are plenty of choices on the market that are said to improve posture and decrease pain, not enough reliable research has shown that these products actually accomplish what you need.  

Numerous evidence-based studies have proven that correcting abnormal cervical lordosis will alleviate pain and muscle tension, while enhancing posture, comfort, and overall health. The Denneroll helps facilitate normal cervical lordosis to help create balance between the nerves, ligaments, muscles, and joints of your upper body. It is a great tool in conjunction with chiropractic care because it helps keep your adjustments longer to keep you feeling pain free and back to work, back to play. 

Posture Pointers: 

“Sit up straight!” “Stop slouching!” “Chin up, chest out, abs in!” We have all heard these cues from our parents, partners, coaches, personal trainers, fitness instructors, and doctors. Being conscious about the way you sit, stand, and perform exercises is a start, but what if the structures of your body simply will not allow you to get in that perfect posture position? What is perfect posture anyway?! 

The doctors at ProActive Chiropractic take the time to educate patients on proper posture and how to achieve it. We analyze patients’ posture and functional movement mechanics, address the under and overcompensated muscles and structures to allow for proper range of motion and movement, and give patients the correct postural exercises to address the deep muscles that support the skeletal system.  

Ergonomics:

Each new patient in our office will receive a comprehensive posture evaluation and 3-dimensional foot scan, revealing potential hidden problems that could go unnoticed. In addition, we offer virtual ergonomic assessments at a much lower cost than a traditional in-office ergonomic assessment with a full printout of findings and recommendations for you to keep.  

Equally important to diet and exercise, understanding how your body is commonly positioned against gravity can help doctors find the underlying issue with chronic pain. 

Proper ergonomics allows for better productivity, promotes great posture, lessens fatigue, and decreases the pain that comes from repeated movements. 

Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT):

Research on Low-Level Laser Therapy reveals that it is a non-invasive and efficient method to reduce healing time after any sort of injury— with zero side effects.  

At ProActive Chiropractic, we offer laser therapy using devices from the world leader in Low-Level Laser Technology, Erchonia. Thousands of reliable studies have deemed these lasers to be safe and successful in pain management and recovery. 

Similarly to how plants use sunlight for energy to grow, the cells in our body convert the non-thermal photons of the laser into energy, which is then used to heal the damaged tissues faster. 
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Get expert non-surgical jaw pain treatment in the San Francisco Downtown area. Call 415-762-8141 or schedule an appointment online now.

San Francisco SF Chiropractic Chiropractor for Jaw & TMJ Pain  adjustment injury treatment San Francisco SF CA
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