[fusion_text]By Tina Beychok
Many people may be familiar with the use of chiropractic adjustments for conditions affecting the neck, back, or knees. However, adjustments can be made to almost any joint on the body in order to put it back into proper alignment and relieve pain and stiffness. Furthermore, there are also some joints that are better suited to instrument adjusting than manual adjusting, simply because of the ability to transfer a greater amount of thrust with less force.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain is a good example of a condition that can particularly benefit from instrument adjusting. The TMJ is a sliding joint that attaches the jaw to the skull and allows for proper opening and closing of the mouth by means of a small disk in the middle of the joint, according to the Mayo Clinic. TMJ can occur if the joint’s disk becomes eroded or moves out of alignment, as the result of arthritic damage to the cartilage around the disk, or if the joint becomes damaged due to blunt force trauma. This can result in pain or tenderness in the jaw, pain in or around the ear, difficulty or discomfort in chewing, or joint locking, which can make it difficult to open and close the mouth.1
An article in the Nov-Dec 2005 issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine discussed the case of a woman with TMJ pain whose symptoms were greatly improved following treatment by instrument adjustment of the TMJ. The woman had suffered from TMJ pain for the previous seven years as the result of eight root canal procedures on the same tooth. She suffered from pain not just in the jaw, but also in the shoulder on the affected side, as well as headaches and ear aches.2
[/fusion_text][fusion_text]Following a series of unsuccessful treatments, she underwent regular instrument adjusting of the affected joint. Over the first five months of treatment, her jaw pain was reduced, headaches were diminished, and she was able to open her mouth wider (from 22 mm to 28 mm). At the end of 20 months, all of her symptoms had diminished, except for a bit of fullness in the affected cheek. The researchers concluded that the success from instrument adjusting in this case of TMJ pain should be studied further and replicated in future studies.2
1Mayo Clinic Staff. TMJ disorders. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tmj/basics/definition/con-20043566. Published December 2012. Accessed October 2014.
2DeVocht JW, Lawrence DJ, Schaeffer W. Chiropractic treatment of temporomandibular disorders using the activator adjusting instrument and protocol. Altern Ther Health Med. 2005:11(6);70-73.[/fusion_text]