The TMJ and the Upper Cervical Spine (C1 and C2)

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a versatile joint, involved in many day-to-day functions such as speaking and chewing. Problems with this joint can cause a range of issues not only to these functions but to posture, sleep, and spinal alignment. But what comes first?  Change in spinal alignment or a change to the TMJ?

The upper-cervical spine has a huge influence on the TMJ due to its close relationship between the trigeminal nerve that controls the muscles of mastication. Change to the alignment of this part of the spine and the function of this nerve can cause changes to the TMJ and consequently bite. This in turn can have a much wider influence on the body.

Changing the bite can have a massive change in spinal posture and position. The bite itself can be a problem independent of the upper neck being problematic. However, changes to the bite require more invasive and permanent action so addressing the upper-cervical spine is a good place to start.

The relationship between the upper-cervical spine and the TMJ is undeniable. The relationship between the TMJ and the rest of the spine is also undeniable, as seen in the study below. As we know patients experience full body changes under upper-cervical care, this is one example of why this happens.

Signs that you Might have a TMJ problem/TMD

  1. Your problem started after a trauma to the neck (car accident, head injury, sports accident)
  2. You are experiencing neck pain as well as TMJ problems
  3. Your head protrudes in front of your shoulders – anterior head syndrome
  4. You are experiencing headaches as well as TMJ issues
  5. You have other symptoms that can be attributed to a cranial nerve problem, such as dizziness/balance issues, digestive problems,

To be clear, upper-cervical chiropractic care isnot a treatment for these problems, but once the upper-cervical spine had been corrected, your body has much better chance of eliminating these problems. Everything works better with the correct nerve supply.

If you think you may have an upper-cervical problem or that your TMJ issue may be coming from your upper-cervical spine and want to discuss your personal circumstances further, please send me a message and I will be happy to see if we can help you find a solution.

TMJ
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