TMJ Disorders: 3 Types and How to Resolve Them

If you have experienced pain in your jaw, you know the struggle that it brings. Some people give up on eating and talking because it’s challenging to open their mouths. There are several ways to relieve this painful sensation, such as getting the help of a TMJ pain chiropractor in Lakeland, FL to address your jaw issue.

In this article, we’ll discuss why you should follow in the footsteps of our patients and reach out to Dr. Debra Pavlovic, our TMJ pain chiropractor in Lakeland, FL for relief. But first, let’s talk more about jaw pains.

Your Jaw Hurts for a Reason

The number one reason for jaw pain is a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. The TMJ attaches the lower jaw (also called mandible) to the skull. To spot this joint, place your fingers on both sides of your face and then open and close your mouth. You shall feel the joint. 

What makes this joint special? Its structure allows movement for the jaw. The TMJ supports the gliding and up and down motions necessary for speaking, chewing, and yawning. So, if you have a TMJ disorder, you’ll likely experience some difficulty performing these movements for day-to-day living.

TMJDs (temporomandibular joint disorders) are several conditions that mainly affect the jaw and other areas in proximity, such as the face, neck, and ears. TMJDs also affect the surrounding muscles in the jaw. In most cases, TMJ pains are only temporary. They can go away in a matter of days or weeks for some people. However, there are severe cases of TMJDs that can bother an individual for years if left untreated.

What Causes TMJ Disorders?

TMJ disorders are highly prevalent. In fact, it can occur to people of any age or gender. The most typical cause for TMJ disorders is injury. Falling and other accidents can damage the disc in the jaw or fracture the jaw bone, leading to jaw pain. However, the reason for TMJ disorders is not limited to accidents.

Mannerisms like clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth (bruxism) can also lead to TMJ disorders. Stress is also considered a possible reason. Other classic reasons for TMJ disorders are arthritis, disc displacement, and orthodontic procedures. 

Although surprising, misalignments in the neck can also cause TMJ disorders. Drinking alcohol and smoking can also accelerate the degeneration process of the TMJ, which can result in pain and locking. Other possible factors contributing to TMJ disorders are sodium intake, eating habits, overextending the mouth or jaw when yawning.

What are The Different TMJ Disorders?

As mentioned earlier, TMJ disorders are varying conditions that manifest on the jaw and surrounding areas as painful sensations. There are three categories that TMJ disorders fall into, and these can occur simultaneously in the affected individual. The three categories are:

#1. Internal Derangement in the Jaw

This disorder is commonly caused by trauma to the face or jaw. This disorder refers to dislocation or displacement of the different parts of the jaw, including the jaw bone and discs. 

#2. Myofascial Pain

Myofascial pain refers to the lingering and radiating pain or discomfort that seems to stretch out from the jaw to the neck and shoulders as well as parts of the face.

#3. Osteoarthritis

Joint degeneration is a condition where an individual may experience an accelerated “wear and tear” in their joints, including the TMJ. This condition results in pain, stiffness, and inflammation in the jaw.

How to Resolve Your TMJ Disorder

Pain Medication

People with TMJ disorders initially resort to pain medications to manage the symptoms that come with their condition. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory pills are usually prescribed to reduce TMJ pains and swelling.


In more severe cases of TMJDs, doctors may recommend surgery for relief. A woman in Colorado experienced excruciating pain in her jaw that only allowed her to open her mouth a couple of centimeters wide. She had extreme difficulty in moving her mouth to eat or talk because of the pain. The only way to relieve her from TMJ pains is surgery (total alloplastic reconstruction) on her jaw to remove the cause of her pain.

Lifestyle Changes

As mentioned before, certain lifestyle choices can accelerate the degeneration process of the joints. Hence, switching to a healthier lifestyle can help you reduce or even eliminate the pain in your jaw. You can begin by limiting your alcohol intake and cigarette smoking. In addition, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep at night, and eating healthier foods are some of the classic lifestyle changes you can commit to.

If you are already experiencing jaw pains, give your jaw a break by eating softer foods until the pain disappears. Avoiding stress in your jaw when you yawn or becoming aware when you grind your teeth are also helpful in speeding up recovery.

Upper Cervical Care

Like we said, misalignments in the neck may cause jaw disorders. The pain in the jaw can be a manifestation of a problem in the upper cervical spine, which consists of the atlas and axis. These two bones are located extremely close to the TMJ, and unfortunately, these bones are prone to misalignments. Misalignments in the upper cervical spine can be caused by the following:

  • Poor posture
  • Disc degeneration
  • Dehydration
  • Heavy trauma to the head or neck

Any of these causes can lead to adverse health conditions, including TMJ disorders. If you remember receiving trauma to the head or neck before experiencing jaw pains, consider paying a visit to Dr. Debra Pavlovic, our trusted TMJ pain chiropractor in Lakeland, FL.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Pavlovic, call our Lakeland office at (863) 393-4169. You can also click the button below.

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If you are outside of the local area, you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at

Atlas Wellness of Lakeland

This is a Real health care Provider...
We do not Treat Symptoms... We get rid of them.
4122 El Camino Real East  Lakeland,
 FL 33813 USA
Mon - Tues:  9:00 AM – 6:45 PM
Wed: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Thurs: 9:00 AM – 6:45 PM
Fri - Sun: By Appointment
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