Jaw Pain

Jaw pain can be excruciating and
crippling. The common signs of
temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
dysfunction are: TMJ pain, limitation
of mouth opening, pain in the
chewing muscles, grating or clicking
joint sounds and deviation of the
mouth on opening. Others include:
locking of the jaw, pain in the head,
neck, face and/or shoulders, a
sudden change of the way the teeth
fit together. Any of these signs and
symptoms warrants a complete
examination of the TMJ and
surrounding structures from your
practitioner specializing in applied
Injuries to the jaw range from
athletics, fighting, biting down too
hard, poor dentition, bruxism (nighttime
tooth grinding), auto accidents,
clenching, pathologies and arthritis.
All are subject to causing brief or
long-term dysfunction.
The jaw joint itself is comprised of a
socket, formed by cranial bones in
front of the ear, and the lower jaw,
mandible, which has two surfaces
protruding upward. One protrusion
closest to the ear is covered with
cartilage and fits into the cranial
socket, while the other serves as a
surface for muscle attachments
beneath the cheek bone. The actual
joint formed between the cranium and
mandible contains a disc suspended
front-to-back by ligaments and
surrounded by synovial fluid to
protect wearing of the cartilage
surfaces covering the bone.
When injuries affect this joint,
evaluation of face, throat and neck
muscle balance, cranial faults, upper
cervical subluxation, and even
sacroiliac dysfunction, your applied
kinesiologist is particularly skilled in
teasing out the exact cause and
appropriate therapy to restore and
optimize function. Nutrients such as
pantothenic acid and iron could also
play a role in sub-optimal
performance for TMJ muscles.
Cases of whiplash are likely to incur
TMJ dysfunction because the jaw
also suffers a whipping motion, thus
straining the soft tissues associated
with the joint. Cracking and grating
sounds may be an indication of
deteriorating cartilage surfaces or
displacement of the disc. Try this brief
home evaluation and note your
findings. Look at your face in the
mirror. Notice the jaw line, cheek
bones and cheeks. Are they even?
Next, slowly open your mouth fully,
watching for any sideways
movements or sounds. Sometimes a
jaw will open with and “S” shaped
movement, or it will shift to one side
rather than straight down. Then firmly
press into the muscles over the
temples located above the cheek
bones and in front of the ear.
Abnormal findings need further
In his paper to AK health
professionals, Dr. Jeffrey Weber, DC,
explored the research within the ICAK
and documented clinical findings that
show where TMJ dysfunction was
seen to be caused by bilateral
hypertonicity of the posterior
temporalis muscle. Dr. Weber
evaluated 11 females and 9 males.
“All patients were under undue
emotional and/or psychological
stress…Upon palpation, the
temporalis muscles were found to be
tender, bulging and hypertonic…TMJ
dysfunction was localized bilaterally
in the open position…the external
pterygoid was seen to be reactive to
the temporalis.” “After treatment, a
number of patients experienced some
‘emotional catharsis.’” “To summarize,
a connection was made between the
emotional upset and the hypertonicity
of the temporalis and the TMJ
Applied kinesiology’s Triad of Health
reminds us to evaluate mental/
emotional, chemical/nutritional and
structural aspects of any TMJ
problem. Seek out the proper care
and therapy that your applied
kinesiology specialist can provide. AK
is practiced world-wide and
celebrates 50 years in 2014.
Jeffrey Weber, DC is is president of
the Chiropractic Board of Clinical
Nutrition of the American Chiropractic
Association. Dr. Weber practices in
Brooklyn, New York.

ICAK Newsletter


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