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Cranial Nerves Affecting TMJ and Facial Sensitivity

Perhaps your body feels worse in the winter, when its cold, or when there is a breeze or wind present. You might experience issues like:

  • Jaw pain

  • Decrease range of motion and jaw tension

  • Atrophy of facial muscles

  • Avoid smiling

While this could be from a variety of reasons one we are focusing on today is cranial nerves.


Cranial Nerve V: Trigeminal Nerve

The Trigeminal nerve is broken into the ophtalmic, maxillary, and mandibular divisions. All 3 divisions provide sensory information to the face, but the mandibular division innervates the jaw muscles including the: masseter, temporalis, medial and lateral pterygoids.


Potentially if you have a dysfunctional or deconditioned cranial nerve the sensory portion may easily get worn down with stimulus such as touch of the face, wind, and breeze from air conditioning or a fan.


If there is an issue specifically with the mandibular branch is might also affect the muscles it innervates resulting in temporomandibular joint issues such as jaw pain, decreased range of motion, poor biomechanics and other TMJD related symptoms.


The Trigeminal nerve also provides innervation to the tongue and has a relationship to soft sounds via the tensor tympani muscle.


Trigeminal Nerve Client Experience:

One of my clients had a series of jaw surgeries but one specifically was traumatic because of a injection of anesthesia then went straight into the trigeminal nerve. This client found me years later still with ongoing jaw problems. Using P-DTR we worked on the trigeminal nerve and began reconditioning and noted a great improvement in day to day life.


Cranial Nerve VII: Facial Nerve

The Facial nerve breaks into 5 specific branches that innervate the facial muscles: frontal (or temporal), zygomatic, buccal, marginal mandibular, and cervical. When the Facial nerve becomes dysfunctional and deconditioned you will want to avoid stimulating these nerves which may result in a lack of facial expressions and even a lack of feeling in the face. There is even a connection with loud sounds due to the chorda tympani nerve which is a branch of the facial nerve and innervates the tongue and is specifically related to sound.

Facial Nerve Branches and their muscle innervation
5 Branches of Facial Nerve and their muscular innervation

Client experience:

Client was having issues with feeling numbness on only the left side of the face. Using P-DTR we assessed the branches of the Facial Nerve, found specific branches dysfunctional, and treated them. After the session the client was given homework to strengthen the cranial nerve and has not had this issue since.


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