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Chiropractic Care and TMJ Problems a Case Study

In the January 2002 edition of the peer reviewed scientific journal, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, (JMPT) appeared a case study on a 41-year-old woman who sought chiropractic care with complaints of pain at the TMJ on both sides, ear pain, ringing in the ears, vertigo, decreased hearing ability, and a sensation of pressure or fullness in both ears. She also reported that movements of her jaw while talking or chewing provoked pain at the TMJ.

Before seeking chiropractic care she was treated for her TMJ by two medical doctors. She was also referred to an eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist, who diagnosed her with TMJ syndrome. Additionally, she was referred to a dentist for the problem. Medical recommendations were to apply heat to the area, reduce talking and yelling, and change her diet to a soft diet. Even with all this medical and dental care her symptoms steadily continued to get worse.

Eventually she sought the care of a chiropractor. After an examination it was determined by the chiropractor that the patient had an Atlas subluxation, (first bone in the neck). Care was begun by a series of adjustments. After only a few visits the patient reported significant improvement in her symptoms. After two and a half months she reported complete relief from the TMJ symptoms. She also reported a decrease in the frequency and severity of her headaches. Prior to starting chiropractic care, she was experiencing 1 to 2 migraine headache attacks per month. The effects of the chiropractic care were long term as shown at her 1-year follow-up where she had not experienced any headache symptoms for a period of 9 months and her TMJ complaints had completely resolved.