Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, or TMJD, is a very common condition we see at the clinic. TMJD can be due to clenching or grinding the teeth, car accidents that involve whiplash, or even postural distortions such as forward head posture. TMJD can also be linked to migraines as we saw in a recent patient.
A 32-year-old cosmetics purchaser came to the clinic last year with headaches 3 to 4 times a week and migraines twice month. She complained of pain and pressure in her jaw, which she believed was due to night clenching. Her initial chart showed a forward head posture, and distortions of her cranium which were creating compression in her jaw. Therapist Kenia noted that she had trigger points in her sternocleidomastoid muscles that were firing into her head bilaterally.
At her next treatment session, she reported feeling better. Kenia utilized the TMJ protocol on her patient with great success. Her patient reported a significant decrease in clicking in her jaw with no headaches, at the following session. Over five weeks, with two treatments a week, Kenia was able to reduce the clicking sound in her jaw and eliminate the patients migraine headaches!
Her patient also did her homework assignments daily with range of motion activities to help reshape the cartilage disc on the TMJ. With years of misalignment in the joint, the cartilage disc can become misshapen, leading to the click or popping sound most people will complain of with TMJD. These exercises, along with NST, can resolve TMJD and prevent it from coming back.
Six months after her treatments had concluded, the patient reports no migraines since her treatments. She occasionally feels tension in her jaw, but does her exercises and the tightness goes away.
The Neurosomatic Therapy protocols for TMJ involve intraoral work on the pterygoid muscles, the tongue, masseter, and even the floor of the mouth. If you have jaw pain, tightness, or clicking let your NST practitioner know.