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TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT (TMJ) PAIN AND TEAR DUCT (BLOCKED)

Such a long word for the jaw! But most joints are named after a combination of the two bones that articulate with each other.The mandible is the jaw bone and the temporal bone is above the ear. Put them together and what have you got? The TMJ.

When we chew, it should be an even action of both sides. Trouble starts when the teeth are out of alignment and don’t sit comfortably on top of each other. It can happen through a fist fight, or a hit on the side of the head in a car accident.

The result of this joint being out of alignment can be devastating. Headaches certainly, a spaced out sensation, memory loss, ‘clicking’ in the jaw, snoring, temporal neuralgia, tinnitus, earache, poor concentration, unexplained eye trouble. Tooth fillings can inexplicably fracture due to the exertion of uneven pressure.

The sight of people putting up with gaps in their teeth gives me the horrors as I imagine what is happening to their mouth and head. The suffering they will go through concerns me greatly as the teeth move and other symptoms develop which are difficult to diagnose.

My advice is to ask your chiropractor to assess your spine. If all is well there, then ask for a referral to a dentist who has done the extra study. Not all of them are skilled in this area. (Beware of the dentist who decides to drill the teeth down instead of building up the opposite side. It can jam the jaw into a worse state.) Sometimes a mouth plate at night is all that is needed. Your chiropractor will refer you to the dentist of his choice, as he needs to work in partnership with him.

Acupuncture relaxes all the muscles in this area, as do hot packs or towels. The joint can be gently adjusted by several techniques simply and speedily. But the expert chiropractor/osteopath needs to assess the TMJ first.

Recently a lady came in with a painful jaw. She had bent over to lift up her three-year-old. He had, in the joyful exuberance of youth, jumped up at the same time and ‘collected’ her on the jaw as perfectly as any boxer. She saw stars and had to sit down with tears in her eyes.

The treatment was simple: adjusting her neck back into alignment and applying dry heat to the jaw before freeing it up. A bit of acupuncture and a lot of sympathy — a similar incident had happened to me when my son was an energetic

two-year-old!

Headaches can occur if you chew on one side of your mouth only, or suffer from a clicky jaw.

Peter’s story-A few year’s ago I began to experience headaches at fairly regular intervals, usually at weekends, and occasionally on Mondays. At first I thought they were just random occurrences and any concern unwarranted. However after several weeks of this, I began to wonder. It was becoming increasingly uncomfortable and I noticed that the headaches were accompanied by neck pain, especially when I bent my head back. The overall feeling was as if someone had hit me on the head with a baseball bat.

Moreover I was also being disturbed by loss of appetite and a feeling of biliousness. On some occasions I was forced to He down and be as still as possible.

I had various tests for failing eyesight, strange lumps in my brain or was it just ingrown toenails? But I was generally pronounced fit with rarely even a cold to complain about, and 20/20 eyesight.

At the time a friend was visiting a chiropractor getting his neck straightened. It sounded like torture but seemed to give him relief from headaches. Stupidly, I just let the message go over my head. I began to get used to having this pain once a week and accepted it, by popping the odd headache tablet.

However, my wife got sick of my moans and groans, and after I started suffering a chronic build-up of stress, finally packed me off to her chiropractor.

Acupuncture immediately relieved my stress and I began telling about my

long-standing headaches. My neck was examined and it was found that the muscles were as stiff as old canvas. They began to loosen up as soon as my neck was adjusted. It made sense that my headaches were due to strained neck muscles as the pain had radiated from there and localised at the left eye.

I also remembered that a few years earlier I’d had several teeth removed from both jaws and these were replaced by plastic teeth. This confirmed that a loss of the ‘true bite’ was responsible initially and that the only permanent cure would be to have the bite corrected.

The chiropractor referred me to a dentist specialising in temporomandibular dysfunction and he gave me the full treatment. He traced the pain areas, and measured my lack of bite in relation to where my teeth were.

He concluded after lots of checks that my mouth was out of ‘whack’ and definitely contributing to the pain. He reset the plastic teeth on my denture and, after remoulding my plate to a more comfortable bite, I noticed that my headaches reduced immediately and soon disappeared altogether.

TEAR DUCT (BLOCKED)-The treatment for this condition doesn’t have to be surgery. Success has been achieved by seeing if there is a neck strain that needs an adjustment. Sometimes the problem can be solved with acupuncture. There is an ear point called ‘internal secretion’ that literally ‘turns off the tap’. It can also be reversed to turn on the tap. People generally wouldn’t think to consult a natural therapist for this condition but often it is the simplest solution.

One lady, treated with this problem, couldn’t believe how much better she felt generally, as well as having her tear duct unblocked in a couple of treatments.

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