Neck pain can be debilitating for many people. Even more debilitating is when it is relentless, affecting people day after day, week after week.
Many of these people become exhausted and highly emotional as a result of the constant unrelenting bombardment of pain stimulation to the brain. The emotion winds up the senses further driving the pain creating this recurrent wind up of the problem leading to emotional and mental fatigue and a feeling of being overwhelmed.
More importantly, often they have tried everything. Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, acupuncture, medication all to no relief.
The often-missed component to many of these issues is the TMJ, or jaw. When the jaw moves the upper part of the neck rotates with it. The is a compensatory movement that is required to maintain balance in the kinematic chain.
Many practitioners mistake this movement for dysfunction of the cervical spine when in fact it is a desired compensatory function. However, when this movement becomes persistent due to chronic dysfunction of the jaw the result is dysfunction of the neck and often pain.
Detecting dysfunction of the TMJ (jaw) is a very difficult thing to do and requires specialized training. Because of the structure of the joint and its functionality, simply feeling the area for symmetrical movement rarely identifies problems.
Whilst our team here is specifically trained to look for and detect these associations, the untrained person can quickly get an idea if their neck pain might be being caused by TMJ dysfunction with some simple tests.
- Turn your head from side to side and observe the amount of rotation you have. Now bight down on an icy-pole stick or something similar in thickness and see if your rotation changes
- Tilt your head to the left and right and then flex your neck forward and extend backward. See if any movement creates discomfort or pain. Then repeat after rubbing your TMJ (jaw joints) for 10 seconds.
- Lay on your back and lift your head off the floor. Now bite down hard and repeat.
If performing any of the above steps, ie. Biting on something, rubbing or biting down hard, changes the movement range, the pain levels of the freedom then there’s a good chance your TMJ is involved in your neck pain.
If that’s you, click the chat button and we’ll speak with you about how we might be able to help get you some relief or book an appointment online.