Can TMJ Cause Other Problems?

I was reading one of those silly Facebook posts as I was struggling to start this article. This particular post was something about how you are saying it wrong, which got me thinking.

If you have ever heard someone describe pain or dysfunction centered around their jaw; they have probably told you that they have TMJ.

Well, they are saying it wrong. It's like saying I have feet, when you really mean that you have foot pain or more specifically you have something like plantar fascitis. The TMJ stands for the Temporomandibular Joint; which we all have.

What most people are talking about if they have pain in the jaw is TMJ Dysfunction. The reason we are talking about this today is that the practice has always run in spurts, so to speak. I get one patient with a specific difficulty. They get good results from care; and then I get five more with the same problem.

Well, the last few months it has been TMJ Dysfunction and there were some major and very different problems that brought them into the office, but they traced back to having TMJ as the origin.  

I feel like I have to make my standard chiropractic disclaimer here that I did not treat any pathological TMJ Dysfunctions.  However through the uses of Applied Kinesiology and Manual Muscle testing we can assess the neurological balance of the muscles that stabilized the TMJ joint. Also, AK allows us to track potentially down seemingly remote and unrelated problems to the actual cause which, often happens when we dig into the TMJ balance and imbalance.  

That may sound a bit crazy that Low Back Pain or Migraine headaches or Carpal Tunnel Symptoms may be related to your jaw. But when you start to look at the input this little joint sends to the nervous system you may start to understand why it can be related to anything or everything.  

Almost always I will have a patient ask how the TMJ can cause what I came in here for? Well, the answer that I give is that when neurologists were mapping out where the inputs from the body correlated in the brain, they found that the body reflected in the homunculus (translates to the little man). The homunculus the representation of the body, in the sensory cortex of the brain and when we look at it, there is a massive amount of input from the TMJ. In fact, it is about 35-40% of all sensory input has to do with the TMJ.

Because of this interesting neurologic phenomena, the TMJ has an impact on almost every joint in the body. Another reason the TMJ is massively important in Chiropractic and Applied Kinesiology assessment is that there is a gland in the brain called the pituitary gland.

The analogy I use when describing this gland is that it is much like the conductor of an orchestra but for your endocrine system. The pituitary sits in the sphenoid bone, which has several of the muscles that move the TMJ attaching to it.

If the TMJ muscles aren't contracting properly then, it may lead to ineffective pituitary function. Thus, potentially resulting in a functional endocrine imbalance. The primary method we use in the office to help people suffering from TMJ-Dysfunction is via the chiropractic adjustment, one of the chiropractic grandfathers had a statement. "If you have a TMJ problem then you have a C1 problem, if you have a C1 problem then you have a TMJ problem."

AK adds amazingly to the effectiveness in balancing the TMJ because we can quickly balance the neurology of the muscles associated with that joint.  

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