A 45-year-old woman came into my office this past spring complaining of severe TMJ pain and discomfort. She was also unable to open her mouth more than 10mm and had extreme difficulty eating or even chewing her food. When she opened her mouth or tried to chew there were loud popping and clicking noises. This problem was going on for two weeks before she came into my office and was only getting worse. She also complained of concurrent headaches with the jaw pain, and neck stiffness and tightness. She has had TMD issues in the past but never as intense or severe as this particular episode.
Adjusting protocol started with the Activator Basic protocol, working up the spine with adjustments in the pelvis , thoracic and cervical spine. After the Basic protocol was completed, advanced tests of the TMJ protocol were utilized with adjustments to specific jaw areas as found. This protocol was followed over a three week period of time with a re-evaluation to determine outcomes at three weeks. She was also taught postural consideration for her neck in particular, along with specific cervical spine exercises. She was told to cut her food into small pieces and to chew slowly and completely with each mouthful. She was to avoid hard crusty foods, and if she ate an apple, she should cut it into slices as opposed to taking a big bite.
On re-exam her mouth opening measurement went from 10mm to 35mm. On stressing the TMJ with AP and lateral to medial motion, pain was minimal with less popping and clicking. Cervical range of motion improved in all ranges with less pain and discomfort; headaches were no longer an issue. The patient also explained that eating was now significantly easier and close to normal. Frequency of care was decreased and the adjusting and exercise protocol continued. At the end of six weeks of care her mouth opening was at 40mm and pain was very minimal in the jaw. Residual popping and clicking remained but at a very mild level. She was then moved to monthly care and told to continue with her postural and exercise protocols as well as chewing slowly while eating. Utilizing Activator Methods Basic and Advanced protocols enabled us to have a good outcome with this case. (read more)
Dr. Tom DeVita, DC, is a longtime seminar instructor and Clinical Advisory Board member with Activator Methods International.