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.