Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Wisdom Wednesday: TMJ Syndrome
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is typically characterized as pain in the jaw joint. Conventional medicine considers the syndrome a biomechanical issue caused by trauma. Often grinding or clenching the teeth is blamed.
There are a variety of treatments – night guards, filing of the teeth, orthodontics, and even surgical intervention. Over 40 symptoms are associated with TMJ syndrome including headaches, radiating pain in the neck and shoulder, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Applied Kinesiology (AK) evaluates the TMJ as a cranial fault – a subtle misalignment between the mandible (lower jaw bone) and the cranial bones that make up the socket that articulates with the mandible. Muscle testing pinpoints the mechanical flaw, then cranial manipulation is performed in rhythm with breathing to restore normal movement of the cranial bones involved. This is very similar to Cranial Sacral Therapy, an osteopathic technique now practiced by very well trained massage therapists.
Balancing the strength of the supporting muscles of mastication (chewing muscles) is also important. If a muscle imbalance remains, the TMJ syndrome will quickly return.
Over the course of 38 years of practice, I have treated a number of TMJ syndrome cases successfully. However, many of the cases would recur within a matter of weeks or months. Even collaboration with dentists specializing in TMJ syndrome often met with limited or temporary success.
Implementing Quintessential Applications (QA) in my practice radically changed the way in which I evaluate and treat TMJ syndrome. QA creates a flow chart for step-by-step evaluation using AK procedures. Please review any of the Wisdom Wednesday blogs written during the first quarter of 2014 on the steps in QA.
Using the QA format, we find 80% of TMJ syndrome is secondary to dysfunction of the immune system. If the mechanical faults are all corrected and the underlying immune system issue is not addressed, the TMJ syndrome will recur. Chronic viral infections, vitamin D deficiency, allergies, and dysbiosis are all common causes of TMJ syndrome.
My clinical experience indicates that the percentage of cases related to the immune system is actually closer to 100%. However, in 80% of the cases no mechanical correction is needed, you just need to fix the underlying cause. Occasionally, I will have to make a cranial correction after balancing the immune system and maybe once or twice a year, a pure mechanical fault needs to be corrected and no immune issues are present. That is generally a “one visit fix”.
Sometimes the brain is pushing the immune system. Neurotransmitter imbalance and even emotional turmoil can drive the immune system to dysfunction and create TMJ syndrome.
TMJ syndrome is a small part of a larger issue called “switching”. This is a phenomenon where the energy coursing through the acupuncture meridians is distorted or switched. Common symptoms include difficulty multi-tasking, dyslectic actions – like reversing words, letters, or numbers when writing or speaking, difficulty determining right from left, and difficulty concentrating. When these symptoms are constant we often label them as ADHD or dyslexia. When they are intermittent, that is switching. Some of my patients describe it as “spinning in reverse” or their “polarity is backward”.
The Bottom Line:
If you suffer from TMJ syndrome or you are “switched”, please seek evaluation with a certified QA practitioner.