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News in Brief
Investigating the Cellular Impact of Mechanical Force; National Board Seats (Not-So) New Officers at Annual Meeting.
Free Yourself From the Pocketbook Practice
Let's take a journey together; there's an important lesson to be learned. Imagine a town or city just like yours.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 3)
A patient with sacroiliac fixation and dysfunction ordinarily demonstrates a noticeable leg-length inequality when placed in the prone position on the adjusting table.
The Source-Luo Point Combination, Part 2
The Da Cheng includes symptoms for the source-luo points that indicate when to use them for treatment. Yang defines the method as the guest-host (it is one of a variety of acupuncture point combinations called guest-host).
Chinese Doctors Poke Holes in Australian Study
A recent Australian clinical trial, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2014 by Rana Hinman, et el., evaluating the effectiveness of both needle and laser acupuncture for chronic knee pain.
Desert: A Metaphor from the Study of Genetics
In most of the human lives I know about, there are stretches of time which feel stagnant, or worse. We can feel adrift, or wounded and sidelined, and these times don't seem to carry much usefulness while they are unfolding.
Treatment of PTSD: An Opportunity for the Practice of Integrated Medicine
PTSD is widespread across America today. Not only do many of our honored men and women in uniform bring it home with them from the war zones they have been active in, but it often follows any life-threatening event people go through when their lives have been in danger.
Key Changes and Updates to the 7th Edition CNT Manual
Acupuncture Today recently interviewed Jennifer Brett, ND, L.Ac. regarding the updates to the CNT manaul.
I was sitting in a Pizza Hut in Peoria, Ill., with my friend Reggie, sometime in the spring of my senior year in college, when he started doodling on his paper placemat. In those days, the company had a picture of U.S. on the mats, showing all the locations of the "Huts" in the country.
Marketing with a Microphone
When given an option, it stands to reason that people prefer to do business with those they know, like, and trust.
NCCAOM Video Contest
The NCCAOM is excited to announce the launch of the second annual video contest "Because it Works!" 2015.
Q&A With the First VA Chiropractic Residents
As you may have read previously, a major step forward for the profession occurred in July 2014 when the Department of Veterans Affairs began piloting a chiropractic residency program at five locations.
Integrative Medicine for the Underserved: A Seat at the Table
Numerous organizations have risen to the challenge of providing care to medically-underserved populations and here we feature one such group.
Going On-Site With Chiropractic Care
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released a position paper highlighting the financial, clinical and patient-satisfaction benefits of providing chiropractic care at on-site corporate health clinics.
Nomenclature and Classification of Lumbar Disc Pathology: Version 2.0
The Nomenclature and Classification of Lumbar Disc Pathology consensus, published in 2001 by the collaborative efforts of the North American Spine Society, the American Society of Spine Radiology and the American Society of Neuroradiology, has guided radiologists, clinicians and the public for more than a decade.
The Three Heater Official
This Official, belonging to the element Fire, is responsible for maintaining and regulating the heating system of the body, mind, and spirit. It is named for its function. The trunk is divided into three "burning spaces" or "jiaos."
Creating Relationships at Southwest Symposium
The month of May brought many interesting activities. As I have said in many previous columns this year, this profession is moving in a very exciting direction. Make sure you are getting involved. If you're not, you just might get left behind.
An International Life: An Interview with Mary Elizabeth Wakefield
I met Mary Elizabeth Wakefield during her class last summer in Seneca Falls, New York at the Finger Lakes School of Chinese Medicine.
Sports Medicine 101: Surgery or No Surgery?
In the world of sports medicine, many careers are saved by surgeries that correct traumatic damage to the body. Muscle tears, ligament damage, fractures, spinal disc herniations, and joint instabilities are a few of the issues frequently addressed with surgical intervention.
Should You Change an Athlete's Natural Running Form?
Once past the ankle, impact forces travel at about 200 mph into the knee. In addition to allowing the quad to absorb force, bending the knee (E) prevents the hip and pelvis from moving up and down too much (F), which is important for injury prevention and efficiency.
The Risks I Took
We all take risks when we choose this profession. For some, it is not knowing if you can make a living practicing TCM. For others, it is parental or cultural disapproval.
August, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 08
TMJ: Primary Problem, or Tip of the Iceberg?
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
The diagnosis of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome came into its own in the 1980s, and still remains popular today. A myriad of mechanical devices have been placed in people's mouths to alleviate the painful symptoms of TMJ dysfunction.The success rate of the singular use of such devices, however, leaves much to be desired. All too often, symptomatic relief is only partially achieved, and leaving treatment dependent upon the ongoing use of the intraoral devices. In other words, when the "splint" comes out, the symptoms return.
My own experience with TMJ dysfunction leads me to believe that the condition is often a secondary or tertiary manifestation of another problem somewhere in the body. Underlying problems that contribute to TMJ dysfunction and secondary symptoms are frequently found in the craniosacral, nervous, musculoskeletal, myofascial and masticatory systems.
TMJ syndrome may also be secondary to - or receiving significant contributions from - previous or current traumatic injuries anywhere in the body, and/or from stress. In addition, there may be systemic disease processes in the background, along with allergic and/or nutritional factors that can significantly contribute to the presenting TMJ syndrome.
I have assigned the majority of contributing factors of TMJ dysfunction and the resulting syndrome to the following major categories: craniosacral system dysfunction; stress; neurogenic problems and dysfunctions; posttraumatic problems and residua; structural/somatic problems and dysfunctions; degenerative problems and diseases; and dental problems. I'll discuss several of these categories, including suggestions for the efficacious use of different treatment modalities.
Craniosacral System Dysfunction: The craniosacral system is composed of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. It extends from the bones of the skull, face and mouth - which make up the cranium - down to the sacrum or tailbone area.
The bones of the skull most directly involved with the temporomandibular joints are the temporal bones and the mandible. In the case of TMJ dysfunction, the temporals are the most likely offenders directly related to craniosacral system dysfunctions.
The temporomandibular joints are located two-to-four centimeters anterior to each temporal bone's axis of rotation. Because of that articulating relationship, they are commonly involved in TMJ problems. Since the joint surfaces of the temporal bones are located in eccentric positions, when the temporal bone or bones are restricted into asymmetrical positions in relationship to one another, they provide malaligned joint surfaces for the temporomandibular joints on both sides. This malalignment results in mandibular imbalance and undue wear and stress upon the joints.
Temporal bone dysfunction can result from almost any problem within the craniosacral system, be it osseous or membranous. Only a thorough evaluation of the craniosacral system and the whole-body contributions to craniosacral system dysfunction will yield the primary cause of the problem. This can be accomplished through CranioSacral Therapy, a gentle method of releasing restrictions in the craniosacral system.
Remember, temporal bones can also be forced into abnormal positions when the muscles and ligaments that attach to them present with abnormal strains and tensions. CranioSacral Therapy aims at releasing temporal bones to restore normal function, regardless of the primary cause of the TMJ dysfunction.
The mandible, the other bone that contributes directly to the temporomandibular joints, is a single bone with one joint on each end. Therefore, you cannot distort one joint without causing a problem with the joint at the other end of the mandible. CranioSacral Therapy uses techniques to release and balance the joints at both ends of the mandible. It also releases undue muscle and ligament tensions upon this lower jawbone.
The hard palate is at the mercy of the sphenoid bone with which it articulates at both sides and, via the vomer, in the middle. Since the sphenoid is a major player in the craniosacral system, it is also important to evaluate the system's effect on the function of the hard palate. Distortions in sphenoid function or position often cause hard palate malalignment, which results in malocclusion of the teeth and secondary temporomandibular joint problems.
Within the domain of CranioSacral Therapy, we also have the balancing of all of the muscles of mastication. This means that bruxism, disc position and TMJ compression are all addressed effectively.
Stress: Stress can be caused by a number of factors. Physiological stress might be imposed by problems such as gallstones, kidney dysfunction or arteriosclerotic heart disease. Stress also can be induced by poor posture secondary to a shortened leg, for example. Psychoemotional stress, yet another category, is due to life frustrations, neuroses, or harbored destructive emotions like chronic anger. Environmental conditions - breathing polluted air or working in a noisy environment - produce stress as well.
No matter what the cause or type, stress exacts a toll from the body, as vital energy is required to cope with these conditions. While it's well-known that chronic stress may cause a range of health problems, stress has not been thoroughly considered as the root of TMJ problems (surprisingly). Teeth or jaw clenching is a natural response to increased stress, which compresses the temporomandibular joints and, in turn, causes the joint surfaces to be placed in jeopardy.
When excess stress is a factor in TMJ dysfunction, we must consider the use of stress management techniques. Among these modalities are therapeutic massage for relaxation and release, CranioSacral Therapy to reduce sympathetic nerve tone; SomatoEmotional Release to alleviate traumatic tissue memories and psychoemotional problems; hypnotherapy and/or biofeedback to develop conscious control of muscular hypertonus; and psychotherapy or counseling. Depending on the patient and the availability of therapeutic modalities, any or all of these techniques should be considered along with similar ones.
Dental Problems: I hesitate to discuss how dentists should treat TMJ syndrome. I only know that when direct orthodontic, occlusal and/or surgical interventions are put into play before the craniosacral system is functioning at its optimal level, the dental work must often be redone. Why? Because the involved structures change in response to the craniosacral work and other types of bodywork.
In CranioSacral Therapy, we specifically mobilize teeth in their sockets and encourage them to find their natural position in the mouth. When this happens, it changes the occlusion more toward what nature intended.
Dentists should not be excluded from being a part of the therapeutic team; however, they must recognize that occlusions, temporomandibular joint vitality, bruxism and compressive forces related to the masticatory system will most likely be changing as a result of the non-dental work. Therefore, the interventions imposed by dentists should be temporary and complementary to the holistic approach.
These examples show that TMJ syndrome may be the primary problem, or it may be just the tip of the iceberg. The condition is a part of the whole person, and the whole person must be evaluated to solve it.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
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