What constitutes TMJ dysfunction?
The pair of joints that connect the jaw bone to the skull are called the temporomandibular joints – or TMJs. When these joints are not aligned properly it can cause clicking, popping, grinding and/or pain. All of these symptoms can be, and commonly are, caused by dysfunction of these joint(s). Of particular importance in TMJ dysfunction is the particularly loose, or highly mobile, nature of the TMJs. This high degree of mobility is both facilitated and stabilized by the musculature. As you may have noticed, this musculature is highly responsive to emotional states. So, when we are stressed we clench or grind our jaw and teeth. The same stressors which cause us to grind our teeth (bruxism) also tend to result in rather severe tonal dysfunction of the musculature (the jaw muscles get tight or in spasm). These tonal disturbances are commonly a major contributor to TMJ dysfunction. The most common approach to treatment is to place an appliance or splint between the teeth in an attempt to correct the dysfunction. Unfortunately, this treatment, like most other types of passive care often fails to achieve long term correction of the condition.
The rehab approach to treatment of this condition is to restore normal function to the joints and musculature. This can be done through a series of adjustments, stretches and exercises. The end result is to re-establish more normal muscle and joint function as well as to empower the patient to have more control over their problem.
Recently, a new study has been published which shows a clear correlation between the arch of the foot collapsing and TMJ problems on the same side of the body. This tells us of the absolute importance of examining and treating the entire kinetic chain from the floor up. It also reinforces Doctor Lewitt’s contention that “he who pursues the pain is doom to failure”.
If you have more questions regarding your specific problem call our office at (780) 963-4608 to set up a consultation with Dr. McLeod.
This information represents only a brief summary of the conditions discussed and is presented as a public service by the Immanuel Healing Centre. For this or any other health problems about which you have concerns please consult personally with a health care professional.