A new study seems to indicate neck adjustments help pain related to temporal mandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD). Our profession has been on top of this issue for a long time. We don’t think/understand that neck adjustments are going to cure TMJD but we do understand that a neck adjustment can help. That is basically the finding of this study as well. In the group that we associate within the practice of Chiropractic we also understand that things like forward head posture and an unhealthy neck curve and forward head posture also contribute to the symptoms of TMJD.
In this study sixty female patients with TMJD were randomized to three groups: cervical spinal adjustment plus neck exercise, fake spinal adjustment plus neck exercise (SM + NE), and patient education only. The authors measured improvements in pain and function in the spinal adjusting group that where not seen in the other groups. They concluded that adjusting the upper cervical spine combined with neck exercise can be effective for the treatment of pain and dysfunction in patients with chronic TMJD. They added adjusting is not the TMJD treatment itself and therefore, it seems reasonable to add cervical manipulation to the rehabilitation program.
This is something we see as well. Treating TMJD can be complicated and is best done under the collaborative efforts of a dentist and a chiropractor. By combining what we both do the patient will have the best potential for the greatest outcome.