Temporal Mandibular Joint

Pain in this joint is often called TMJ

The temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) is a complex joint that attaches the jaw to the skull. It works like a hinge joint. When people have pain here, they often refer to the pain as TMJ. It is more correctly referred to as temporal mandibular dysfunction (TMD). Think of the jaw like a swing, if one chain is short on the swing, the swing deviates!

Pain in the TMJ in correctly termed as temporal mandibular dysfunction (TMD)

Symptoms include:

  • Pain with chewing/talking
  • Ear pain/ache
  • Maxillary pain (sinusitis)
  • Tinnitus
  • Runny nose/stuffy nose


Dr. Rider has found that dry needling has been the most effective form of treatment for jaw pain.

Let's look at why

There are some important muscles that have to work constantly throughout the day that can get very irritated after chewing gum, grinding teeth, dental work, and clenching. 

The main muscles include:

  • Lateral pterygoids
  • Medial pterygoid
  • Masseter
  • Temporalis 

The Culprit Of Jaw Pain

Two possible sources of pain

The lateral pterygoid has a superior and inferior muscle attatchment. 

This important muscle has several functions. It's rare for a muscle to accomplish this many movements, which include:

  • Protruding (jutting) the jaw
  • Side to side movements
  • Opening the jaw

Dysfunction: Because of the two different attachments of this muscle, there can be assymetric open/deviating of the jaw if one attachment gets tighter than the other. 



Active Dry Needle Application

Dr. Rider has extensive in-class and practical education regarding anatomy and treatment. He finds the most effective chiropractic treatment on the jaw includes Dry Needling

  • Dr. Rider has spent 60 hours of in class education. 
  • Dr. Rider has spent hundreds of hours learning anatomy including dissection.

The needle treatment process will include:

  • The patient opens their mouth for 10-15 minutes in order for their jaw to descend.
  • A needle is then inserted below the zygomatic process (cheek bone).

If you are experiencing jaw pain, contact Rider Chiropractic Sports and Injury for your consult to see if this is the right treatment for you. 

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Jaw Pain

Caused by mechanical movement

When the muscles around the jaw articulation get tight and irritated, this can cause unnatural movements in the jaw. Often time this results in clicking or popping with pain. 

There is a small disc in the TMJ. When the muscles surrounding the TMJ get tight, they increase the pressure on this disc. 

This can cause a pinch point and force the disc to follow the movement of the jaw and snap over the condyle causing a click or pop.

This can cause permanent damage if left alone, as well as, long term jaw irritation. 

The Temporalis Muscle

This is another important muscle of the jaw.

The temporalis is a muscle that originates on the side of the skull and is one of our main muscles for mastecation (chewing). If you have pain with any of the following functions, schedule an appointment today:

  • The anterior portion of this muscle elevates the jaw.
  • The posterior portion retracts the jaw (slides backwards). 
  • The temporalis inserts on the coronoid process of the jaw.
  • If you have pain with these functions, schedule your appointment. 


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