Stress going straight to your Jaw?
By John Lieurance, D.C.
There is a condition that is common in stressed out people. It’s called Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD), sometimes referred to as myofacial pain dysfunction or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. It’s a condition involving pain in the muscles of the jaw used for chewing and/or the temporomandibular joint, which connects the lower jaw to the skull. It’s generally thought that our problems usually migrate to our weakest link. What can make the TMJ a weak link?
These symptoms are usually aggravated by more than one cause. Clinching at night, tight chewing muscles, and damage to the jaw itself from whiplash are generally thought to be the primary culprits. One factor that isn’t discussed by many doctors is the overall position of the bones of the head. Many physicians don’t comment on it because it’s a relatively new discovery in medicine that the various bones of the skull actually can move. It’s very similar to the way the teeth move when your bite is off or when you have braces on. It’s a remodeling that takes place that is thought to occur in order for man to adapt to various conditions.
Weston Price, a famous dentist, first discovered this by studies of the skulls of various tribes around the world and found that their skulls developed differently depending of different stressful conditions. He found that diet was a major factor in maintaining a wide palate.
Your palate is the roof of your mouth. When it narrows it moves up like a tent and causes teeth to crowd as well as intrudes up into the sinuses. A narrowing of the palate is the main reasons we need to have our wisdom teeth removed. Having your wisdom teeth removed is not the only downside of a narrow palate, sinusitis, sleep apnea, snoring, low energy and oxygen levels, poor sleep, premature aging, chronic neck and back pain, headaches, and yes TMJ are all potential side effects of a narrow palate.
Fortunate for us the skull can also be reshaped back to its ideal structure and some doctors have found that various methods have shown to make remarkable changes in the skull. Orthodontists have now begun to do adult palate expansion. This was once only done in children to make more room for developing teeth. Many dentists have noticed that these kids also begin to thrive once their plate is returned to a normal width. There are also various cranial manipulations that have been shown to move the cranium and widen the palate.
If prior TMJ treatment has failed try this simple test. Put your index fingers over the joint of you jaw. Open and close your mouth and notice if you feel the joint move into your finger. This is only possible if the jaw doesn’t have enough room to fit into your temporal area of your skull. When the temporal bones are not positioned symmetrically, the jaw has difficulty making smooth contact with the skull. When the jaw joint binds, there are joint sounds and often, but not always, pain.
Dr John Lieurance, DC is a Chiropractic physician. He is the founder of Advanced Wellness Center in Sarasota and Palatka. He has been in practice for 14 years utilizing Functional Neurology, NeuroCranial Restructuring, Functinal Cranial Release (FCR), K-Laser cold , Pettibon chiropractic systems, exercise and nutritional therapies.