Blog#33: Chiropractic and the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
Temporomandibular joint problems are common in the U. S. Symptoms of TMJ dysfunction include jaw pain, aching in and around the ear, difficulty or discomfort while chewing, facial pain, headaches, locking of the jaw, difficulty opening or closing the mouth, clicking when opening the mouth or chewing. Anyone can develop TMJ problems, but women between the ages of 20 and 40 are the most frequent sufferers. Causes recognized by allopathic medicine include head trauma, arthritic changes in the joint, and wear and/or dislocation of the joint. Chiropractic recognizes other causes, including malposition (subluxation) of the joint without dislocation, high levels of toxicity, malnutrition, substance abuse, and mental or emotional stress.
Allopathic medicine and dentistry primarily offers TMJ syndrome sufferers painkillers, surgery, mouth guards, and orthodontia. For decades chiropractic physicians have used massage and manipulation of the TMJ, along with stretching and relaxation exercises. Many chiropractors also approach TMJ dysfunction with nutritional guidance, acupuncture therapy, and suggestions for lifestyle changes. Improved posture and breathing patterns, meditation, hypnosis and self-hypnosis, and biofeedback also often can help correct TMJ problems. Depending on the cause of the problem, one approach or group of approaches may be more effective.
One technique which can sometimes temporarily help alleviate TMJ pain, and which is safe to teach through this blog involves lightly and simultaneously touching the areas just above both mandibular angles with the index fingers. The fingers are held lightly in place until a faint pulsation is felt coming from both points of contact. The contact is then held for 15 seconds and released. The mind must be completely quiet in order to detect the pulse in this technique, which is part of a much larger therapeutic approach I have used in my office for 35 years with great success. Below is a link which shows pictures and the location of the angle of the mandible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angle_of_the_mandible
This blog’s offer: call my office to schedule a free consultation to assess the condition of your temporomandibular joint. I will test for and discuss with you the nature of the problem and let you know if I can help. As part of my program of TMJ therapy, I teach people how to adjust their own TMJ’s and teach them how to address this dysfunction in other ways as well, such as maintaining proper posture and breathing, improving nutrition, and using self-hypnosis.