Many people think that chiropractors only take care of back problems. However, the truth is that chiropractic can help with a whole host of issues throughout the entire body.
In some cases, chiropractic treatment can work as an adjunct to treatment from other health care providers to help the patient have a better recovery. One good example of this is with temporomandibular pain, in which collaboration between DC and dentist can very much work to the patient’s advantage.
A good example of this can be found in a case report from the March 2014 issue of the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine.
What is temporomandibular pain?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) attaches the jaw to the skull. It works very much like a sliding hinge, wherein the moving parts of the joint are cushioned by a disk of cartilage (called the articular disk) that acts as a shock absorber and keeps the joint moving smoothly.
TMJ pain can have several causes, including arthritis, injury to the joint area, or articular disk erosion or misalignment due to grinding of the teeth from stress. Standard treatment can include muscle relaxants, antidepressants, lifestyle counseling, and use of oral splints fitted over the teeth.
In the case report, a woman presented for chiropractic care of TMJ pain, tinnitus, headaches, and neck and shoulder soreness for the previous eight months. She also could not open her mouth very wide (42 mm out of a maximum 49 mm), had articular disk displacement that showed up on radiograph, and reduced lateral range of movement of the cervical spine. She rated her pain as 6 on a 10 point
Dental treatment consisted of an anterior repositioning splint. Chiropractic treatment consisted of instrument adjusting for the cervical, thoracic, and pelvic spinal regions. The TMJ was manually manipulated, and soft tissue manipulation was performed on the affected lateral pterygoid inside the patient’s mouth. Isometric relaxation for the head and neck were also done.
The patient received chiropractic treatment six times over the course of three weeks. At the end of the three weeks, the patient reported no pain. She could fully open her mouth, and had increased lateral range of motion of the cervix region of the spine.
This case report shows that by combining proper dental care with chiropractic treatment, the patient can benefit from pain relief, as well as long-term treatment, in the form of the oral splint to prevent reoccurrence of TMJ pain.