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TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDER

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder­–also called TMJ syndrome–refers not just to one but to a number of conditions that cause pain in the face, head, or jaw area. The TMJs, located just in front of the ears, are the 2 hinged jaw joints that attach the lower jaw (mandible) to the bones at the sides and base of the skull (temporal bones). These joints allow the jaws to open, close, move side-to-side, and rotate in movements such as chewing, swallowing, or speaking. When there is pressure on the facial nerves from muscle tension–caused, for example, by clenching or grinding the teeth during the daytime or nighttime, bone abnormalities, arthritis, stress, or injury–a variety of symptoms may occur. These symptoms may include headache, earache, tooth sensitivity, jaw stiffness or soreness, or a clicking sound when the mouth opens or closes. Temporomandibular joint disorder, which may be chronic (long-lasting) or temporary, affects more than twice as many women as men and most often appears between the ages of 20 and 50.

How NUCCA treatment can help

tmjAlthough there are many possible causes of TMJ dysfunction, one of the most common is trauma, or injury. In head trauma, the upper cervical spine tends to misalign, and the vertebrae move out of their normal position (subluxate). This movement irritates the nerves that go to the muscles of the face and jaw.

NUCCA can help by correcting the misalignments of the upper cervical spine caused by trauma and remove the irritation of the affected nerves. After the nerve irritation has been removed, proper communication is restored between the brain and spinal cord, and the surrounding nerves.

Specific imaging studies of the cervical (upper neck) region are taken to locate a misalignment of the vertebrae. Insight Millenium technology is used to scan and measure the nervous system for possible irritation. If a misalignment has been found to affect the function of the nervous system, very specific, gentle adjustments are made, by hand, to correct the misaligned vertebrae in the neck. After the adjustment has been performed, follow-up imaging studies and nervous system scans are taken to confirm a successful spinal correction.

Sources

Uppgaard, RO . Taking Control of TMJ: Your Total Wellness Program for Recovering From Temporomandibular Joint Pain, Whiplash, Fibromyalgia, and Related Disorders . Oakland , Calif : New Harbinger Publications, 1999.

Temporomandibular Joint Association, Inc. Web site. Available at: http://www.tmj.org. Accessed March 14, 2005.

Jaw Joints & Allied Musculo-Skeletal Disorders Foundation, Inc. Web site. Available at: http://www.tmjoints.org. Accessed March 12, 2005.

Useful Links

  • Academy of General Dentistry 
    Nonprofit organization of general dentists; also provides useful information on TMJ for patients.
    http://www.agd.org
  • Temporomandibular Joint Association, Inc. 
    Nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information about TMJ.
    www.tmj.org
  • Jaw Joints & Allied Musculo-Skeletal Disorders Foundation, Inc. 
    Nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization; good source of information for patients.
    http://www.tmjoints.org