CHIROPRACTIC CARE FOR JAW PROBLEMS
Problems of the Jaw or TMJ (Temporo Mandibular Joint) we call TMJ dysfunction.
Common symptoms are : headaches, grinding or gnashing of teeth while sleeping (called Bruxism), ”clicky” jaw, neck and shoulder pain and tightness.
Less common symptoms are: numbness or pins and needles often to one side, ear ache, irritation or twitching of the muscles around one eye, skin tenderness around the jaw and temple.
Anatomy of the Jaw Joint:
The lower part of the jaw is the mandible, or ”ball” part of the joint. The mandible swings within the ”socket” or upper part of the jaw which is the temporal bone. There is a disc between the two joint surfaces and very strong muscles providing bite strength and control.
The jaw joint is one of the most highly innervated joints in the body which means it has one of the richest nerve supplies of any joint. This is the reason we are sensitive to any changes involving our teeth or our bite. You might have been to the dentist for a filling which was left a bit high and the dentist has ground it down for you. The height of the filling was probably only a fraction of a millimeter but felt like a small rock! That’s because the nerves in the jaw joint pick up the tiniest bits of information. For this reason, any change to the symmetry or function of the jaw can upset you.
TMJ Treatment –
As a chiropractor my area of expertise is the spine. The function of the jaw is influenced greatly by the function of the spine, especially the upper neck. It may seem far from the jaw, however , the function of the pelvis, namely the sacroiliac joint is also closely linked to jaw function and is a main focus in the technique I use called Sacro-Occipital Technique (SOT). This is due to the kinematic chain of events that functionally link the skeleton. http://www.drcharlesblum.com/…/TMJ%2520and%2520SI%2520Joint…
So when a patient comes in with a jaw problem I will assess the jaw joints themselves, the other cranial bones involved with the jaw, as well as the spine and pelvis. I will then work with the areas I find any problem.
Assistance might also be sought from a dentist to assess the teeth and the bite, or where an aid such as a night splint might be necessary. Night splints are often recommended for Bruxism. Magnesium is also reported to help with bruxism. http://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/…/te…/teeth-grinding
One elderly male patient asked me, “do women have more jaw problems than men?” I do believe he was inferring that women talk more! I respectfully declined to answer the question as I have not looked at the statistics, although have a fun theory; that men talk less, but clench their teeth under stress when they should be talking! Sorry fella’s!
Dr Patrick Maher
Chiropractor – Brisbane City