TMJ Disorders - 'It's all in your head!'

Oftentimes when people describe their symptoms to me, it is clear that the underlying issue is related to their temporomandibular joint. To a dysfunction in this joint that is affecting cranial nerves and creating a host of symptoms from pain and headaches to facial pains and movement disorders, tics, dystonias, brain fog, memory issues, there are so many things that are tied to this very important part of our body and yet I see the looks on the faces of patients when i say the issue is related to your jaw. As if they feel i am minimizing their suffering. They feel like I am taking their huge hosts of symptoms and suffering and I am whittling it down to this tiny body part that is their jaw.


Through the FACE organization we will demonstrate that this part of our body is one of the most important parts of our entire body!


For so many reasons...it guides the path of oxygen flow into our body, it is the path of nutrition and digestion, our ability to speak and communicate with people, our ability to smile and present facial expressions to the world. It plays an integral role in our ability to swallow effectively and create pulsations to clear our CSF of neurological waste products in our brain.


The jaw is the stabilizing force for the entire body. It stabilizes our head on our neck on our spine. It is such an integral part of our body that it makes me crazy when people say, “I can’t believe that something so simple as the jaw is causing all these issues.”    There is nothing simple about it!


We need to do more education and raise more awareness to help people to understand that and not dismiss it. Because even when it has been thoroughly explained that your pain and suffering is being caused by this issue right here and we can fix it and alleviate your symptoms, the are so doubtful and mistrusting, believing that it has to be something far more dramatic than that!


So they begin on a path of looking for the right drug, surgery, botox, deep brain stimulation,  like significant interventions that have very serious side effects and complications. Rather than looking at the structure and function and what is not aligned properly and getting back to midline. These are the things that improve your structural integrity. If your body is not structurally sound, your body will not work properly and your body will be constantly accommodating. You will become exhausted trying to maintain a structure that is flawed. Lets get back to the basics of alignment. Lets teach our patients that the jaw is so important.


The frustrating thing is that the medical schools don’t teach about TMJ they don’t teach the importance of it, they feel this is the realm of the dentist….basically severing the head and most of the cranial nerves from the rest of the body and giving it to the dental community. The dental community has washed their hands of it and don’t teach it in their programs and so now we are faced with this limbo of dentists feeling like dealing with the tmj is too complicated because it affects so many issues in the body and the medical community saying we deal with the rest of the body and dental can deal with the tmj. The fallout from this is that our patients suffer. They suffer from a lack of care and options and this is doing so much harm on society. The costs to our society is huge in terms of production loss drug addiction, family dynamics pain and suffering. This is the fallout from these two groups fighting over the fact that nobody wants to deal with this joint. FACE wants to take this on, raise awareness. We want to help patients find information and understand their options. We want to help medical and dental providers to communicate with each other on how to stabilize this very very important unique joint in the body. And along with allied health care providers who understand the role of posture and proprioception, work together to stabilize the structure of our patients.


Julia Worrall