The last decade has seen an explosion in brain based research. Ways of assessing the body using a brain focused paradigm are gaining huge traction in all bodywork approaches including chiropractic. The effect of subtle brain imbalances on the body and the ability of physical therapy to affect positive changes in brain function are revolutionising the way that chiropractors are examining and treating their patients.
Jaw pain as a result of clenching and grinding the teeth during the day or night can be caused by excessive signals from parts of the brain via the trigeminal nerves (the big nerves that service the jaw muscles). The cause of this excessive brain activity can be varied, sometimes emotional stress, sometimes poor brain oxygenation as a result of poor airway maintenance whilst sleeping (so called sleep apnoea), sometimes brain fatigue from overwork.
Consequently jaw pain may have little to do with the jaws themselves but may be best treated with therapy aimed at reducing trigeminal activity generated by a tired, stressed, poorly oxygenated brain. Brains can respond well to targeted physical therapy interventions, neural exercises, breathing programs and stress management protocols. These strategies may be an important part of longer term solutions for your TMJ problem.
As part of his examination, Russell will be looking to determine the extent, if at all, the role that aspects of your brain and nervous system function are playing in the cause of your jaw, head and face pain. Of course, this is in addition to assessment of whole body posture, jaw joint and muscle function, dental bite and cranial strain patterns, all of which may contribute to the cause of ongoing pain.