TMJ (temporomandibular joint) – Chiropractic Can Help

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It is the joint where the jaw hinges to the skull just in front of the ear. The joint is held together by a complex group of muscles, tendons and ligaments. There is a cartilage disc in the joint similar to the knee joint. The TMJ is the most active joint in the body, moving up to 2,000 times a day during talking, chewing, yawning, etc. TMJ disorder is four times more common in women than men.

It is estimated that forty million people suffer from some level of TMJ disorder. Symptoms are clicking or popping jaw, headache, earache, facial pain in front of the ear, neck pain and sensitive teeth.

The disorder can be caused by a number of things including dental problems, injury to the jaw, whiplash type injury to the neck, and grinding and clenching the teeth.

The onset of symptoms is usually gradual, progressively getting worse over a period of a few days to several months. It may be precipitated by yawning, prolonged dental work, eating an apple, hard chewing or trauma to the jaw.

Whether the cause of the problem is due to a jaw injury, a whiplash, dental problem, emotional stress, etc., there is almost always an involvement of the neck muscles. Prolonged contraction of the neck muscles can contribute to TMJ discomfort or be the result of TMJ discomfort. Either way, gentle chiropractic spinal adjustments in the neck area can aid recovery, in addition to any other therapy required to correct the problem.

The prolonged contraction of the jaw and neck muscles can produce vertebral misalignments in the cervical spine much like thumb sucking can cause protruding teeth. When the spine is misaligned, it can irritate or create pressure on nerves causing nervousness, irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches, pain or numbness in the arms and hands, backaches, etc.

If someone you know is suffering from TMJ disorder, please suggest they call for an evaluation. The sooner the condition is treated, the faster the response.


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Looking for Answers to the Pain of Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is created by the gathering of nerves that extend from the spinal cord down through the pelvic bones. The sciatic nerve branches out and controls the organs in the pelvis and everything else from the hips to the toes.

Sciatica is the inflammation of the sciatic nerve, the largest and longest nerve in the body. Burning pain in the low back, hips, and legs are common symptoms of sciatica. Low back pain is not always part of sciatica, but often comes with it.
Usually, sciatica affects only one side. Pain often radiates down the buttock or leg and can range from a tingling, burning, pins-and-needles feeling to excruciating, shooting pain that makes standing up nearly impossible. Often, coughing, sneezing, and sitting make the pain worse.

In the past, long periods of bed rest were commonly prescribed for sciatic pain and malfunction. Recent studies have confirmed that lengthy bed rest is a waste of time and may interfere with healing. Another common prescription, epidural injections, does not help patients suffering from sciatica, either. Researchers in Germany did a six-month study published this year in Clinical Orthopaedics, and Related Research. These researchers found that spinal corticosteroid injections do not help patients with sciatica improve any faster than those not given such injections.

What does seem to be the correct prescription is conservative chiropractic adjustments to realign the misaligned vertebrae. According to the recently released United States Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) guidelines, “relief of discomfort can be accomplished most safely” with chiropractic adjustments. Chiropractic care (sometimes coupled with simple exercises) normalizes the joint mobility, returns the bones to their proper position, and takes the pressure off the sciatic nerve. Pain and inflammation leave the area. Function is restored. Health is restored.

Sciatica is a horrible experience. Regardless of what you may have been told in the past, you may get rid of it. You may not have to “live with it” as you’ve heard. Correction of the cause of sciatica may be as close as a call to our office. We’d be happy to do our part in the restoration of your health and the elimination of the vertebral subluxations that have been interfering with it.


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How Important is Your Spine?

The spine is the major factor in all movements of the body. It provides balance to the skeletal frame, absorbs jolts and shocks, allows is to move, bend and twist, all the while protecting the spinal cord and spinal nerves.

The spine can become distorted by daily work habits such as a mailman carrying a heavy mailbag, a mother carrying her child on her hip or poor work postures.

Distortions are also produced by injuries dues to falls, whiplash, strains and prolonged or repetitive emotional stress.

The importance of the spine to our health has been recognized by great men for centuries. Hippocrites, the celebrated Greek physician after who the “Hippocratic Oath” is named, recognized the importance of the spine saying: “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.”

Another famous Greek physician, Claudius Galen, who was considered the greatest anatomist and physiologist of classical times said, “Look to the nervous system as the key to maximum health.”

And from our own Thomas Edison, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

Spinal subluxations, which interfere with the normal flow of nerve energy between the brain and the body’s tissue cells, can hamper the normal function of the glandular, eliminative, nervous, digestive, muscular and circulatory systems of the body. The primary symptoms are pain and/or disease.

It is the desire of the chiropractic community to help your entire family live the most pain free healthy life possible. Call our office and arrange for a visit.

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Fender Benders and Back Pain

Recently, a patient came in and reported that, for some reason, he “just wasn’t feeling right”. We discussed his life over the last couple of weeks and figured out, to me, the obvious reason for his back pain flaring up.

It seems this fellow was in a minor “fender bender” a couple weeks previous. He said it really wasn’t much of an accident and there was very little damage to the car. He took his car in “just in case” and the only repair necessary was to have the wheels realigned. He added that he felt no physical discomfort at all right after the accident so he figured he was “OK”.

As he repeated the details of the growing spasms and tenderness in his mid and low back, I thought about how he had taken his car in “just in case” but had neglected to take his precious self in for a check-up “just in case”. I didn’t know absolutely that he might have avoided most of the pain had he come for a spinal check-up immediately, but I had a pretty good idea he would have.

We chiropractors see this fairly often. A man or woman in fairly good health, maybe with a history of infrequent back pain, suddenly comes up with horrible spasms or immobility due to back pain. Sometimes it seems to come out of the blue. We can often pinpoint a cause, but sometimes the cause of the breakdown and pain is an accumulation of mini-traumas that were never fixed. Lifting or twisting strain, plus family stress, plus bad eating habits, plus job demands all add up. All these mini-traumas together with, maybe a minor wreck or other accident and somewhere along the “beaten” path, you end up with pain and disability.

This “onion” layering of damage-added-to-damage makes for some real problems for many. Luckily, there is a solution. With evaluation of your spine and the damage that has occurred, we can carefully adjust the bones of the spine so they return to an appropriate, healthy alignment. Resolving and maintaining the proper position of the spinal bones again, gives the body the structural support it needs. Nerves, which were damaged due to the bony misalignments, regain their life-giving function. Pain and inflammation are relieved. Health returns as the layers of damage are fixed.

We were glad that this patient came in for his check-up. What we found was that, even though the wreck seemed minor, the damage to his spine was real. We were able to correct that damage using specialized chiropractic adjustments. No amount of waiting or any kind of pain medication would have worked. His spinal bones were realigned and the cause of his back pain was fixed.

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Are Allergies Holding Your Health Hostage?

Allergies are a hypersensitive immune system’s reactions to normal antigens in the environment. Simply, allergic symptoms like runny nose, wheezing, hives, inflammation, stomach cramps, or itching are the body’s reaction to something it does not like. Uncomfortable and, sometimes, life-threatening physical reactions can occur when an allergic person comes in contact with an allergen, whether it is inhaled, eaten, or touched. What healthy bodies perceive as non-threatening, the allergic person’s body sees as toxic and poisonous.

Allergens may be airborne like ragweed pollen and mold. Substances in milk or eggs, or chemicals in fabrics, plants, or in some medicines may cause allergic reactions in those whose immune systems see these harmless substances as poison.

Normally, the immune system works to attack and destroy invading bacteria and viruses. With allergies, the hypersensitive immune system is trying to do its job protecting the body and destroying invaders, but somehow, the immune system has become overloaded.

Frequently, allergy sufferers avoid all situations where they might come in contact with allergens.

Since we know that allergies are associated with the body’s eliminative system, why not check it for faulty function? The body eliminates waste products through the kidneys, bowels, skin, lungs and mucous membranes.

If the body fails to have bowel eliminations every day or the kidneys are weak and are unable to filter liquid body waste from the blood due to a reduced flow of nerve energy from the brain, then the skin or lungs or mucous membranes must pick up the slack by increasing their excretions.

When this overloading occurs, these eliminative organs can become inflamed and are easily irritated when they come in contact with irritants (allergens) on both the outside and inside of the body.

Because all body functions are controlled and coordinated by the nervous system any interference to the flow of nerve energy from the brain to the eliminative organs can contribute to “allergies”.

Instead of treating allergy symptoms by taking medications for “temporary relief”, chiropractic works to normalize the body’s immune system with gentle spinal adjustments to restore the nerve energy flow to the eliminative organs. Real relief may only be a phone call away – call us now!


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VERTIGO: Scarier Than a Hitchcock Movie

VERTIGO: Scarier Than a Hitchcock Movie
“If I wanted to be this dizzy, I’d go to an amusement park!” To people who have never suffered from vertigo, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. If they could think how their lives would change with their environment continuously whirling about them sickeningly, they would very likely change their opinion. Vertigo is not necessarily painful but it can be debilitating and continuously disorienting. Driving may be impossible and walking across a room may have dangerous consequence, too. Often, people with vertigo need help just getting by.

Chiropractors have long suspected the relationship between upper neck spinal bone misalignments and vertigo. (Chiropractors may begin their work with vertigo sufferers by ruling out caffeine and aspirin sensitivity, and alcohol involvement.)

A recent study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in February 2000,entitled, A combined approach for the treatment of cervical vertigo seems to support chiropractic’s opinion that vertigo can be helped by chiropractic care. This study, done by several medical and chiropractic doctors, involved 15 subjects with cervical (neck) vertigo who visited their Ear-Nose and Throat doctor suffering from dizziness. The patients agreed to participate in a treatment system which included chiropractic care and a variety of physio-therapies, biofeedback, and exercise. The objective of the study was to see the results of a treatment system using specific conservative methods.

Interestingly, 93% of the participants also complained of musculoskeletal problems, mainly neck pain, shoulder girdle pain, and tension-type headache. The patients had suffered these problems on average for over seven years. The median time length of dizziness before treatment began was 52 days. The treatment system, including chiropractic care, lasted on average 41 days and included 5 sessions. It wasn’t a long time but it showed great results.

After treatment, 60% reported no vertigo and 20% reported consistent improvement of vertigo. Additionally, the musculoskeletal problems completely cleared up in almost 27% of the participants and improved in 60%!

The researchers concluded that the musculoskeletal problems, something chiropractors handle every day, are “important causal and perpetuating factors of cervical vertigo”. This means what caused the neck pain, shoulder pain, and tension-type headaches caused and made worse, the vertigo. Consistent improvement was seen using a conservative multiple system of chiropractic care and other therapies


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