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What is TMJD?

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD) involves the joint that connects your jaw to your head, specifically the Temporal bone of the skull with the Mandible of the jaw. As there are 2 sides (left & right) to a human head, proper movement of these joints is critical for proper function. In reality, TMJD is an umbrella term for the many problems that can arise from dysfunction of this area. The most common complaints are:

Neck Pain

Painful Jaw Clicking

Headaches

Decreased Jaw Range of Motion

Teeth Grinding

Jaw Clenching

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction typically can be distinguished into 2 classifications:

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Muscular Dysfunction

The musculature of the jaw (masseter, pterygoid, temporalis) can become hypertonic, or tight, and dysfunctional, which can create painful and sore muscle, as well as uncoordinated movement.

 

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Articular Dysfunction

The joint articulation itself can create problems, such as dislodging of the disc, arthritic degeneration, and/or inflammation. These conditions will irritate the sensitive nerve endings that cover the joint, creating pain.

 

Now, not much can be done from a non-invasive standpoint with regards to arthritic breakdown of a jaw joint, however, this is a much less common cause of TMJD.

Fortunately, the MOST common causes of TMJD problems likely stem from some level of muscular imbalance, consequently dislodging the articular disc of the TMJ joint. If this is indeed the case, Keystone's approach might be exactly the solution you've been looking for.

TMJD & Atlas Displacement

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Atlas Displacement (AD) is a condition involving abnormal alignment, mechanics, and nervous system function stemming from the upper cervical spine. This area of the neck has unique characteristics that make it the “weakest link” in the spine and as such, susceptible to injury. Slips and falls, poor posture, sports injuries, whiplash, and car accidents are just a few of many factors that can contribute to structural instability in the upper neck region.

TMJD and AD can be intimately tied together through a brain structure known as the Brain Stem.

The brain stem is housed between the Atlas and the base of the skull, extending upward into the skull itself.

An important feature of the brain stem is the origination of what are called the Cranial Nerves. These vital nerves do not exit out of the spine, as most other nerves do. They actually begin to course out of the brain and brain stem, eventually exiting out of the skull. Therefore, a problem with one of the cranial nerves is usually indicative of a problem at the brain stem.

 

The important cranial nerves to mention here are the Trigeminal and Facial Nerves, specifically because they power, or innervate, the muscles of the face and jaw, teeth, brain, among other important structures.

If there has been an injury to the upper cervical spine, creating an Atlas Displacement, this can impact the health and function of the brain stem. While the top of the neck doesn’t apply direct pressure to the brain stem, the movement and function of the neck has large implications for this important piece of anatomy.

TMJ Jaw Pain Treatment