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Case Studies - Jaw Pain / TMJ Dysfunction

Female, Age 20 years, TMJ, Fibromyalgia
This 20-year-old female suffered from several health problems following an accident in which she was hit by a wave while swimming in the ocean. The wave caught her off guard and knocked her to the ground. She described how her face and jaw hit the ground first, and then her legs rolled up and over her head from the force of the water, severely "pinching" her neck. Immediately following the impact, her jaw "locked up" and emergency room physicians "forced open" her jaw in order to take x-rays of her neck. No fractures were found.

Subsequent to the accident, she developed chronic problems with her jaw. Her jaw frequently "locked up" and while she wore a mouth splint regularly, the jaw problems continued. In addition, she suffered with pain and muscle spasms throughout her spine and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She described all of her muscles as being painful and weak.

After no success with multiple different therapies and treatments, she sought help from upper cervical chiropractic care. During her evaluation, a spinal injury stemming from her upper neck was found. During her upper cervical care period, her symptoms gradually lessened. She was able to go without wearing the jaw splint and was able to close her mouth completely and open and shut it without having it lock up on her. In addition, all of her pain decreased dramatically and she was able to get back to a regular exercise, work, and school schedule.

Female, Age 21 years, Hypothyroid, TMJ, Headaches
This 21-year-old female suffered from a variety of health problems since her birth, which required forceps. Her mother, a massage therapist, massaged her frequently for back and neck pain due to scoliosis since birth. Her mother noted that her muscles along the right side of her spine were always more contracted in comparison to the left during massage. Scoliosis was diagnosed by her pediatrician and elementary school nurse. In addition, she suffered from daily headaches that radiated from the right side of her neck up to her right eye. She also suffered from daily jaw pain on the right, where the right side of her jaw clicked and popped. Prior to seeking help from upper cervical care, a blood test revealed an under-active thyroid and she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

During her chiropractic examination, scoliosis was noted and an injury was discovered in this patient's upper neck region. The upper cervical injury could have resulted from her forceps birth.

After only one month of upper cervical care, all neck pain, back pain, headaches, and jaw pain were absent. In addition, a follow-up blood test revealed normal thyroid levels, so her endocrinologist did not prescribe thyroid medications.

Female, Age 23 years, TMJ, Headaches, Neck Pain, Back Pain
This 23-year-old female suffered from several health problems since an ice skating accident 6 years ago. During the accident, her friend fell on top of her head, smashing her head sideways into the ice. Since the ice skating incident, she struggled with pain throughout her neck and back; headaches as often as once per day; and constant jaw problems. The left side of her jaw was the worst and hurt even during smiling. Daily, her left jaw clicked and popped and caused pain. She complained that her jaw constantly came to her attention because it always felt unstable.

During her chiropractic examination, an upper cervical injury was discovered, most likely stemming from the ice skating accident. Once her neck injury was stabilized, all headaches, spinal pain and jaw pain were absent. Some residual clicking in the jaw remained, most likely due to scar tissue from the chronicity of the injury. However, she was able to chew, smile, etc. without pain and without thinking about her jaw.

Female, Age 50 years, TMJ, Headaches, Neck Pain
This 50-year-old female was involved in an auto accident in which she was rear-ended at 40mph. After the accident, she suffered from constant headaches and pain in her neck and jaw. The neck pain was focused at the right upper region underneath her skull. The pain radiated around to the right side of her jaw and up to her eyes and face. She sought treatment from massage therapists, chiropractors, and dentists to no avail. At the time she sought treatment from upper cervical care, she had suffered for 5 years with constant symptoms.

During her upper cervical chiropractic examination, an upper neck injury was discovered that was radiating pain throughout her neck, jaw, and face. The upper cervical injury most likely stemmed from her auto accident. After two months of upper cervical care, all neck pain, jaw pain, and headaches were absent.

Female, Age 33 years, TMJ Dysfunction, Headaches, Whiplash

This 33-year-old female suffered from a TMJ disorder for 15 years following a severe car accident.  During the accident, her car was hit from the side at approximately 45mph.  She broke several ribs, dislocated her shoulders, and suffered whiplash.  Following the accident, she immediately began to have problems with her jaw, especially on the right side.  The problem caused her to grind her teeth badly at night so she was given a splint to wear.  In addition to the pain in her jaw, she also began suffering with headaches and pain in her right ear.  The pain was so severe that she had trouble sleeping. She sought help from many practitioners over the 15 years but the problems continued.  Her most recent recommendation from her dentist was to undergo jaw surgery that would cost thousands of dollars.  Instead, she took the advice of her biofeedback practitioner and decided to undergo and upper cervical chiropractic evaluation.

During her evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered that was most likely caused by her auto accident 15 years prior.  The neck injury was causing the TMJ, headaches, and the ear pain.  After the first upper cervical adjustment, she reported feeling immediate relief and was certain that she was finally on the path toward recovery.  Within a month, she was able to decrease the use of her splint and reported significantly less teeth grinding, jaw pain, ear pain, and headaches.  Within two months, her symptoms were absent and she was able to discontinue use of the splint.


Female, Age 55 years, TMJ Dysfunction

This 55-year-old female was diagnosed with TMJ Dysfunction following an auto accident 4 years prior in which she was rear-ended.  Following the accident, she felt pain at the base of her skull along with disorientation and other neurological complaints.  For the TMJ, she was prescribed a splint.  Because her teeth no longer lined up properly, she was told that she was a candidate for implants.  Before undergoing dental surgery, she decided to try upper cervical chiropractic care and made an appointment for an evaluation.

During her evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered that was most likely caused by the auto accident.  The neck injury was causing her jaw problems and after receving the first upper cervical adjustment, she felt an immediate shift in her jaw.  Ultimately, her jaw re-aligned itself, her teeth lined back up again, she got rid of her splint, and was able to avoid surgery.

Female, Age 39 years, TMJ Dysfunction, Headaches, Neck Pain

This 39-year-old female had been suffering from severe pain in her jaw, head, and neck for a number of years.  She reported that due to frequent grinding, a number of her teeth had been worn down to "nubs." Sadly, she had seen a number of dentists and chiropractors over the years but the problems persisted.  Finally, she sought help from a specialized field of dentistry known as neuromuscular dentisty.  Through computerized testing, this dentist diagnosed a large discrepancy in her bite and also suspected cervical involvement.  Besides fitting her with an appliance to stabilize her bite and to protect her remaining teeth, he referred her for an upper cervical chiropractic evaluation.

At her chiropractic evaluation, an upper cervical injury was discovered.  She reported several different cervical traumas including an auto accident that could have caused her neck injury.  Within the first 2 weeks of cervical treatment, she reported substantial improvement in her jaw, neck, and head pain.  Over the subsequent 2 months, her cervical spine continued to stabilize through treatment, which allowed her jaw to recover as well.  Concurrently, her dentist made small adjustment to her appliance to help with the recovery of her bite.  Ultimately, when her cervical spine was stabilized and her ideal bite was determined, she was fitted for implants to replace her worn teeth.  All of her symptoms of grinding and pain were resolved.

The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.