TMJcare is committed to providing a thorough and holistic approach to jaw, head and face pain. Russell draws upon 38 years experience in Chiropractic and post graduate training in a wide cross-section of manual therapy techniques, trigger point dry needling, electrotherapy, orofacial myology, cranial manipulation, exercise rehabilitation and dental approaches to treating jaw, head and face pain.
Often the initial goal of treatment is quick relief of pain. Dry needling, electrotherapy, low level laser, and muscle trigger point therapy are all possible means of achieving this. Many patients however, have chronic problems that recur or are difficult to manage. For this reason Russell will always spend time in the initial examination trying to understand the reasons behind, and the causes for, the presenting complaint.
For instance, TMJ pain can be related to poor head posture (often repetitive craning of the neck forward at work or home). This can lead to a resting jaw position that puts excessive pressure on the jaw joints and/or jaw muscles. Poor head posture can be caused by many things including computer work, spinal curvatures, an unbalanced spine and pelvis, or even flat or dropped foot arches. Sometimes it has been necessary to include attention to such factors in order to gain lasting relief from jaw pain.
In other cases, the way the teeth come together (the dental occlusion or bite) may be causing the jaw (mandible) to posture backwards and causing irritation to tissues behind the joint, thus causing protective muscle contraction that can become painful. This is especially true if combined with jaw clenching or tooth grinding (bruxism). Whilst physical therapy can relieve this pain, it may be necessary to send the patient to a suitable TMJ qualified and experienced dentist for the prescription of an intra-oral appliance (splint) to reposition the mandible and take pressure off the jaw joints and muscles. Please refer to the “about” section of this website for further discussion about the reasons behind, and approaches to, jaw and head pain.
The practitioner who wishes to manage jaw, head and face pain well, must have training and awareness across a wide range of knowledge relating to areas such as whole body mechanics (including the skull and cranium), dental assessment and treatment options, medical conditions such as systemic inflammation and arthritis, screening for serious intra-cranial pathology (tumours etc) plus the various treatment options available both from within ones own profession and others. The list goes on.
The clinician must have a good referral network of other health professionals such as medical practitioners, dentists, physical therapists, specialists and sometimes psychologists and counsellors. Any of these might be needed to assist in the thorough management of chronic pain.
At the initial consultation, the patient is involved in a detailed, no-pressure discussion as to the examination findings, treatment recommendations and probable costs. Choices are given concerning the time and resources that each individual patient wishes to commit, and adaptable solutions found to suit their needs.
Russell is a broad-minded, scientifically, evidence based practitioner who continually attends post graduate education seminars, is a member of multi-disciplinary organisations such as the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, maintains an active referral network and won’t hesitate to recommend his patients to others whom he thinks may help them better or in addition to himself. He is very willing to contact and work with his patient’s existing Dentist, Chiropractor, Physical therapist etc, to try to achieve the best possible outcome. No single type of therapy has all the answers for the sometimes vexing issue of craniofacial and jaw pain.