Categories TMJ Dysfunction

TMJ and Upper Cervical Spine Care

Today I’d like to talk to you a little bit about TMJ pain, TMJ temporomandibular joint, which is the jaw joint where the mandible connects into the skull. The typical medical treatment for TMJ pain is medications, right, cover it up, mask the problem that do not do anything to actually fix anything, physical therapy, where they rub the joints and they would have you do certain exercises, which might make it feel better, but it doesn’t address the source, it’s just kind of putting a Band-Aid on it. And then I’ve seen some actually, even as extreme as surgery, where they’ve replaced the joints, they put new little disc pads in there. All of these things are basically temporary, they’re not addressing the actual cause.

    What we have found in our 26 years of working with people with TMJ pain is almost all the time what has happened is, the joint actually has gotten out of balance. Now, how does it happen? Well, the ligaments that hold the joint up into the little socket there, so it’s almost like a ball and socket joint on both sides that go up into the socket and as long as the ligaments that hold the joint in place are nice and healthy, then the ball sits inside, and it just rocks inside that joint. But what we have found is the ligaments can actually become unhealthy. And then when that happens, the ball actually slides out or slides forward or moves out of the joint to a degree that now it doesn’t work the way it’s intended to, when that happens, it can cause severe pain. If you have TMJ, you know what I’m talking about, and it can even cause it to lock up either on the opening or the closing side so that it gets kind of stuck.

    Now, a good way to check for this is to look to go in front of a mirror and look at the mirror and slowly as you open your mouth, slowly see how the jaw moves. The jaw should be symmetrical all the way through the opening and closing part. If you start opening and it shift over to one side, comes back another way, a lot of times what will happen is it’ll go one side then back the other side and you’ll see it doesn’t open smoothly. It should open up and down very smoothly. If it doesn’t and starts to kind of lean towards one side or the other, or sometimes a lot of times you can go back and forth then there’s some joint dysfunction in there. Most of the time, what we’ve found is that’s because the nerve flow to that part of the body has become interfered with or hampered to a degree that the ligaments have gotten unhealthy and the nerves that come out of the very top of the neck are the nerves, obviously they’re right there behind it, they control the temporomandibular joint.

    What we do as upper cervical chiropractors is find if there is a joint insufficiency at the TMJ. And instead of actually manipulating the joint, what we do is we go in and find the source, or the cause, that causes that joint to become out of sync. And it’s usually from the upper part of the neck where the nerves come out, they go to the joint, that if one of these bones in the neck is out of aligning, it can actually interfere with the messages to the joint, allowing it to become less than healthy and start to dysfunction.

    We have found that we can open it up. Now the healthy nerve flow gets back to the joint, the ligaments actually draw back up so that, that ball on both sides fits into the joint as it’s designed. Now, you get a smooth transition as your jaw opens and closes. Now, the joint can actually heal, work as intended, and quits locking up. Believe me, I know, I had a TMJ problem all through high school, through college, and then finally started going to an upper cervical chiropractor. When he started adjusting my neck, my jaw problem all of a sudden just disappeared. It used to click and pop and sometimes it would get hung or I could only open it so far, it used to drive me crazy. But there was always some degree of discomfort, sometimes severe discomfort, even sharp stabbing pain.

Categories TMJ Dysfunction

Upper Cervical Care for TMJ

I want to talk to you a little bit about TMJ, Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction. A lot of people have discomfort in the jaw with opening the mouth, and they have popping or grinding. I had it for many, many years, and every time I would eat, I would pop, and then sometimes there would be a sharp, stabbing pain in the jaw. Sometimes, it would even lock up, or I couldn’t open my mouth wide enough to even get food in, and it used to drive me crazy.

    Well, when I started going to an upper cervical chiropractor, all of a sudden, I realized that one day my jaw quit popping and I never had any more discomfort. It never locked up on me anymore, and that was 25 years ago. I haven’t had any TMJ problems ever since, but I’ve actually helped hundreds of people with the same situation with their TMJ.

    What we’ve concluded that happens is this: the jaw joint is a freely hanging bone. This jaw right here is a free joint, and it has two ball joints on each side up into the skull, and what happens is that the ligaments that hold the joint there, as long as the ligaments are healthy, hold that joint up there so that it can now move like it’s supposed to, as the jaw opens and closes. But what can happen is that the ligaments, if they don’t get the full nerve supply, can actually get slack, they get weak, and the ball joint on one side will fall a little bit. Now, what we’ll see a lot of times when we’re doing our analysis is somebody with a TMJ problem, when they open their mouth, their jaw will shift. What that means is that it’s not even on both sides. If one side dropped a little bit, then they’ll shift like that when it opens.

    From an upper cervical chiropractic standpoint, the reason those ligaments have gotten loose and that ball has slid out of its normal position is because of the nerve health, the nerve flow to the ligaments have gotten interfered with, and so the ligaments then get less than full health, less than healthy, and they get a little loose and lax, and so the jaw joint will open up a little bit. What happens then is, it starts to wear down, it can get hung in certain positions, it can pop and crack as it moves back and forth, and most definitely can cause a lot of discomfort.

    The nerves come out and innervate the ligaments there of that joint, at the very top of the neck, the brain stem area right at the very upper cervical spine, and if we find a problem there, if we can correct the problem, then all of a sudden the nerve supply gets back to the jaw joint, and the ligaments then will draw back up as they get healthy again. Then, the jaw joint starts to work as it’s designed again, and it’ll rock back and forth with the ball inside the joint as it was designed, and then the TMJ problems can clear up. The pain, the popping, the locking sensations, can all clear up.

Categories TMJ Dysfunction

TMJ Treatment

I’d like to talk to you a little bit today about TMJ, temporal mandibular joint, more specifically temporal mandibular joint dysfunction, or syndrome. Basically, it’s just excruciating jaw pain. Sometimes the jaw will actually get a little bit locked. It can be locked, where it doesn’t open all the way. I’ve even seen it where it won’t close all the way. And it drives you crazy. Actually, I had the same problem when I was younger. Mine would pop constantly every time I would chew. Everybody at the table would be looking at me because I’d go pop, pop, pop. And then, I would have just like somebody stabbed me in the face sometimes. The severe, severe pain within the joint.

The thing that drove me absolutely crazy is I’d go through these stages where I couldn’t open it all the way. I’d be like … trying to get the stupid thing to open. Well, I actually went to an upper cervical chiropractor and after he started to adjust me, within a few weeks I started to realize that my jaw didn’t pop anymore. As time went on, I realized that it never got hung up anymore. After that, it pretty much disappeared. I no longer had the pain anymore. That upper cervical doctor, I went to him, because I certainly didn’t go to him for my TMJ problem, I actually went to him for a lot of other things, sleep and energy and stuff like that, that totally changed. Anyway, I started asking him could this thing in my neck have anything to do with my jaw? He started to explain to me that yeah, this jaw is a free hanging bone.

This bone, basically you could take the jawbone off of your face. It’s only connected right here with these ligaments that connect to the jaw joint. It’s like a ball and socket joint on both sides. Both sides, it has these balls that fit up inside this little socket. That allows it to pivot and move so you can open, close, move your jaw. What happens is the ligaments that support this area, they hold the ball up into the socket and allow it to move in a normal fashion.

But, if the nerves that go to the ligaments aren’t a 100%, if somehow those nerve messages that keep those ligaments tight get interfered with, then the ligaments start to get a little lax. When that happens, the ball starts to shift inside the joint because the ligaments aren’t holding it tightly, so it’ll start to shift.

As it shifts, now it starts to wear abnormally. It gets out of the socket, and it can, for one, get hung up like mine used to do, where it won’t open all the way because the ball’s not in the socket anymore. And it can actually start to shift from side to side. It can tire out the muscles that are supposed to hold the jaw together and cause you to chew. If it gets a little shifted, drops on one side, now it kind of works abnormally and can start to fatigue, can start to get sore, painful, inflamed.

It can hit the nerves that come down through the jaw. Why would those ligaments get loose or lax? The nerves that supply this joint come directly out of the upper part of the neck and straight to that joint. Come off the brain stem, which are down in the top two bones of the neck. If one of the bones in the upper part of the neck is just a little bit misaligned, maybe you don’t have any neck pain because there’s no pain perception there, so you wouldn’t feel the actual bone out of line putting pressure, but it could still interfere with those nerves that go to that jaw joint, which could cause one side or both sides to get lax.

It could cause the jaw to shift, to work abnormally in the joint so that it wears out the joint, so that it could wear out the little disc that’s between there, so that it could get stuck. It could create all the symptoms that often are associated with temporal mandibular joint dysfunction. When I started getting this upper part corrected, what happened was it took the pressure off of the nerves that went to the joint or that controlled those ligaments.

When the pressure came off the nerves, the ligaments started to draw back up, started to tighten back up again and pull that bone back into that joint, so now I had normal temporal mandibular joint function. My jaw opened like it’s supposed to. Everything in that area was tight again, like it’s supposed to be. That’s how a misalignment in the upper neck can create temporal mandibular joint problems, and that’s also how, if the bone gets out of align, and we can correct it, temporal mandibular joint syndrome problems can actually heal. They can actually get better.

We all know that taking medications might mask the problem temporarily, but it’s not going to fix anything because you don’t have a drug deficiency that causes this. There’s something going on in your body. We need to figure out what that is, correct what’s going on in your body, rather than trying to mask it from something outside in so that your body can actually heal naturally.

No side effects, just getting your body back on track the way it’s designed to with those bolt jaw joints in there, nice, firm, tight, so you got that nice smooth jaw movement. If you have temporal mandibular joint problems, TMJ, or you have a family member that does, let’s find them an upper cervical doctor to help balance this back out to get this joint healthy again so it works the way it was designed to work, and get rid of the pain that goes along with it. Google upper cervical chiropractor in your area. Try to find a doctor closest to you.