What is TMJ?
The temperomandibular joint (TMJ) gets its name from the two bones that comprise this joint. The temporal bone of the cranium and the mandible fit together to form a hinge-like jaw joint. There is an articular disc in the space between the two bones. Although the TMJ is classified as a hinge-type joint, it’s movement is more complex than that. Side-to-side jaw movement requires a sliding action of the joint, while opening and closing the jaw is a simple hinge action. Chewing food requires a combination of these 2 movements.
Muscles Involved With Chewing
There are four pairs of muscles of mastication, that allow the complex movement of chewing. They are highly organized and very strong:
- Temporalis muscle: closes the jaw by pulling on the mandible in different directions
- Masseter muscle: closes the jaw by pulling on the cranial bones
- Internal pterygoid muscle: closes the jaw and moves it side to side
- External pterygoid muscle: closes and opens the jaw
The muscles of the neck are also connected, as you lean forward to take a bite, for example. All muscles communicate with each other through the nervous system. Muscles in the front of the neck must organize and communicate with the muscles in the back of the neck. When tilting the head to look up, the muscles in the back of the neck contract and the nerves signal the muscles in the front of the neck to relax. As you can imagine, these actions and signals become more complex as you move your head forward or backward while rotating your head.
How Your Skull and Neck Relate to Your TMJ
One of the first steps to realign your bite, is to make sure your head is on straight over your neck and shoulders. That way, every time you chew, swallow, talk, and even breathe, the two joints work together in sync. If your head is tilted to one side, the two joints will have a tougher time coordinating jaw movement. NUCCA upper cervical chiropractors literally get your head on straight to give you a better chance of having proper biomechanics in the temperomandibular joints and a balanced bite.
TMJ Symptom Relief San Diego
Get help for your TMJ symptoms today, call our office for a consultation at (619) 313-5403.
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Intouch Chiropractic | San Diego, CA
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