TMJ Specialist

Dr. Katie Thompson, D.C. -  - Chiropractor

The Health Improvement Center

Dr. Katie Thompson, D.C.

Chiropractor & Nutritionist located in Vienna, VA

Over 10 million Americans have pain or dysfunction in the joints and muscles that control jaw movement. If you suffer from facial pain and headaches as the result of a temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJ), call or make an appointment online today with Dr. Katie Thompson at The Health Improvement Center in Vienna, Virginia.

TMJ Q & A

What is TMJ?

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) refers to any problem preventing this hinge from moving your lower jaw forward, backward, or side-to-side.

Your temporomandibular joint connects your lower jaw to your skull. It’s one of the most complex systems of muscles, ligaments, discs, and bones in your body.

Symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Pain in your face, jaw, or neck
  • Stiffness and limited movement or locking of your jaw muscles
  • Painful clicking, popping, or grating, especially when opening or closing your mouth
  • Changes in the way your upper and lower teeth fit together

How is TMJ diagnosed?

When you see Dr. Thompson, she begins by reviewing your medical history and symptoms. She then examines your head, neck, face, and jaw, which includes listening to and feeling your jaw while you open and close your mouth, as well as observing the range of motion in your jaw.

Dr. Thompson also uses Applied Kinesiology to evaluate you. Applied Kinesiology involves applying pressure to areas around your jaw to identify sites of pain or discomfort. She uses various techniques including:

  • Joint manipulation
  • Myofascial therapies
  • Cranial techniques
  • Reflex procedures

How is TMJ treated?

Dr. Thompson uses several methods to treat your TMJ. Two of the most common treatments are the Impulse® Adjusting Technique and the TTAPS Technique.

The Impulse Adjusting Technique restores motion to the targeted joint causing your pain through the use of a small, handheld, spring-loaded instrument that delivers a gentle force.

The TTAPS Technique involves Dr. Thompson using a tapping movement that physically stimulates your sensory nerve terminals as a way to free you from the pain associated with TMJ.

Dr. Thompson also recommends several lifestyle changes, including:

Diet changes

It’s best to eat soft foods. You should also steer clear of sticky or chewy food, including gum.

Stretching and massage

Besides the chiropractic adjustments, Dr. Thompson also shows you how to do several exercises that stretch and strengthen your jaw muscles, as well as how to massage the area yourself.

Heat or cold

Warm, moist heat from a heating pad or applying an ice pack to the painful side of your face helps reduce pain.

Call or make an appointment online today with Dr. Thompson at The Health Improvement Center for relief from pain and tenderness in your jaw.