Proper movement and functioning of the jaw depends on two complicated joints. The two temporomandibular joints form the connection of the mandible, or lower jaw, and the temporal bone. The temporal bone is the location for the external auditory meatus-the hole that forms the opening of the ear. By simply inserting a finger tip in the ear and opening and closing the mouth, one can easily feel the function of this critical joint. Joint movement should be smooth and silent without popping, clicking or “bumps” as the mandible slides and the disc translates between these two bones. The jaw is unique, compared to other joints in the body, as it is suspended from the rest of the cranium by ligaments and muscles. Because of this, the position and function of the TMJ is almost entirely dependent on the position and alignment of the cranium. Any deviations in the position of the head or distortions of the cranium itself can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder. Problems with the TMJ can originate somewhere else in the body. Even in cases where TMJ pain is triggered by trauma or grinding of the teeth, postural distortion tends to be a perpetuating factor. Overall, temporomandibular joint syndrome is greatly impacted by postural distortion and needs to be addressed as such by looking at the body as an organized system of working relationships.
Myofascial release, cranial balancing, neuromuscular therapy for the muscles of the jaw ( both internal and external), as well as consideration for and treatment of contributing postural distortion, form the basis of our treatment for TMJD.