John M Winckler DC, DACO

Chiropractor, Chiropractic Orthopedist

TMJ Syndrome

TMJ pain and tension is very common, yet the solution baffles physicians, dentists, and patients alike. But there is a treatment available using the Nimmo Method that is simple, and helps dramatically with most jaw issues.

TMJ = temporomandibular joint, or jaw joint.

TMD = temporomandibular disorder = TMJ syndrome.

TMJ syndrome, or TMD as it’s sometimes called, is a vicious cycle between jaw joint pain, muscle tension, and irritated tooth nerves.  Possible causes are stress, tooth problems such as an abscess, whiplash, a blow to the jaw, biting on something unexpectedly hard, or even habits such as resting your chin on your hand.

The jaw shares nerve centers with the teeth, sinuses, and face. It is the most mechanically powerful joint in the body and once fired up, will perpetuate its own tension. In this diagram, you can see how the muscles are positioned in front of the joint. Like the grip of a nutcracker, it produces tremendous power (In comparison, the rest of our joints were designed for speed):

1108_Muscle_that_Move_the_Lower_Jaw

Source: OpenStax College, Axial Muscles of the Head, Neck, and Back

http://cnx.org/content/m46484/1.3/

TMJ disorders can cause:

  • neck pain
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • earaches
  • sinus pain
  • toothache
  • jaw restrictions or popping
  • cracked teeth and broken prosthetics

There can also be no symptoms. Many people do not realize they have a problem until they break a tooth, or are told by a dentist or spouse that they are grinding their teeth. In my practice I will sometimes find a jaw issue at the heart of a resistant neck problem.

What Can Be Done

First, have you seen your dentist? Make sure there isn’t an abscess and a root canal is needed. But prior to performing bite adjustments or more invasive treatment, it’s a good idea to see if the Nimmo Method of jaw treatment will work. In my experience, which includes over 30 years of treating jaws, it usually does.

Nimmo Method is a specialized system of treating trigger points, which are tiny pain-generating sites in the muscles and fascia. The treatment takes about 15 minutes and is done entirely by hand. It is followed by gentle stretching and mobilization. Patients often experience immediate relief.

After the treatment I will show you a simple stretch to do at night and give some general instructions to help the jaw develop new habits.  The goal is to ease the jaw out of the vicious cycle of pain and clenching.  With a short series of treatments, the relief becomes longer lasting.  Even the notorious night grinding (bruxism) can fade away.

Ultimately, you have more important things to think about than your jaw. The goal of treatment is to restore your TMJ function so you can get on with life. If jaw tension reoccurs from stress or mishaps, the stretches given to you during treatment can often bring relief. If the stretches aren’t enough, and the jaw begins to “wind up” again, one or two treatments usually gets it back on track and restores comfort.

Call for consultation

If this is of interest to you, call the Northwest Health and Healing office at 541-754-2225 and the staff will set up a consultation, or arrange for me to answer your questions by phone.

More information on TMJ Syndrome:

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

TMJ Association