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A Neuro Approach to TMJD, Clenching and Grinding

Over the past 3 years Intraoral Massage has been an amazing way to work on the soft tissue inside the mouth. For people experiencing issues in this area intraoral can be a great way to help resolve their issues and is an easy form of self-care.

People who experience issues with the Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) and surrounding muscles may experience the following issues:

  • Pain in Jaw

  • Discomfort while opening and closing the jaw

  • Jaw deviating while opening and/or closing

  • The TMJ clicks when moving the mouth

  • Jaw can sometimes lock

  • Decreased Range of motion when moving the mandible

  • Headaches or pain around Temples above ears

  • Facial Pain

  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing

What commonly causes TMJ related issues?

  • Injuries and Trauma to the body

  • Long Term Grinding and clenching

  • Arthritis or Arthrosis

A neurological perspective on what could be causing TMJD related issues.

When looking at these soft tissue and joint issues through the lens of functional neurology you can start to consider these musculoskeletal dysfunctions and symptoms rather than just a cause.

One of the most common things I see is how people's nervous system gets revved up and they hit whats none as a Sympathetic State. This sympathetic state can be more easily referred to as a stressed state. When people are in fight and flight mode they tend to have more of a emotional response and grind their teeth or clench more which can lead to issues like Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD). Massage Therapy alone can often be very helpful for this issue. However, using techniques like P-DTR we are able to assess the adrenals themselves and figure out what are some things that can stress out the body including: emotions, receptors, old injuries, thoughts and more. These Functional Neurology based techniques can then help to prevent your nervous system from being revved up in the first place.

Emotions can play a role on affecting your body as well. You may often hear people say they hold their stress in their shoulders; often the same can be true for the jaw. These can be emotions related to thoughts or events in your past, present or future and may be about things that have happen(ed) or you imagine could happen(ed). Clearing these issues can make a huge difference in a persons day to day life and cause them to go through their days in a more balanced or parasympathetic state (rest and digest).

External and Internal Stimulus can also play a larger part into how your body reacts to information it receives in it's day to day life. These stimulus's could include things such as: temperature changes, frequency, ligaments be stimulated, air-flow and more. Helping re-calibrate the way your body utilizes this information can also help.

Personal experience:

I had not been grinding or clenching my jaw for almost a year. I had to have surgery done at the Dentist after my bridge broke and needed a replacement. After getting the new crown I kept telling them it didn't feel right and the staff said it was all in my head and to just come back if I didn't get better. I went through this process of being told it was just in my head and I didn't feel heard, acknowledged or valued by the staff. Eventually the bridge felt better after 3 returns and adjustments but I would still grind. My grinding had become worse than ever before and I was self-massaging the muscles inside my mouth and making no progress. Finally after I received a full emotional correction with P-DTR regarding my experience of how I was treated my grinding immediately stopped and hasn't returned.

When to consider a neurological approach?

Sometimes Intraoral Massage and facial cupping can be enough to relieve jaw pain. However, sometimes the issue is more complex. If you feel better after an intraoral massage and the pain returns start to consider other factors.

Learn more about P-DTR here:

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