Do you feel tightness between the shoulder blades that goes away temporarily with massage or other bodywork treatment but creeps back? Physical effects of TMJ disorder include:
Approximately 30% of the population have some degree of TMJ disorder but because it tends to be painless for the jaw, and produce symptoms that, although painful, would not seem to be related to the jaw, many people simply don’t know that they have a problem.
Temperomandibular Disorder has been called “The Hidden Impostor” as it can create conditions of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, mental health, hormonal issues, or via compensation patterns it may be a contributor to muscular issues elsewhere in the body.
To find out if you are one of the 30% of people with TMJ issues, check out my rough guide to self assessment in this video.
One of the unexpected symptoms TMJ disorder can cause is negative emotional effects such as depression. Another one is hormonal imbalance, and they have the same cause: Normal brain chemistry and hormonal functioning can be disrupted by the jaw. If the jaw position has affected the positioning of cranial bones, it can cause the pituitary gland to over produce or under produce certain chemicals / hormones. Of course, hormonal issues and negative emotional states like depression and anxiety can have multiple causes.
As well as being a possible symptom of TMJ disorder, negative emotions can be part of the cause. Part of treating the TMJ is finding out how you can achieve and maintain a non stressful emotional state in day to day life. There is a primal connection between the jaw and stress. Our bodies prepare to bite when we feel threatened. Unresolved stress (conscious or subconscious) can activate the muscles of the jaw leading to clenching and grinding of the teeth, causing damage to the jaw structures in the process.
The advantage of the NST approach to healing the jaw is that the emotional aspects of TMJ problems are acknowledged and an easy user-friendly way is available to defuse negative emotions through the body using a simple form of kinesiology.
Mild cases resolve when the muscles of the jaw are released - I recommend NST Bowen Therapy for this purpose - which takes pressure off the joint. The process is supported by using the MOJO if necessary.
The Australian designed MOJO is a simple one-size-fits-all mouthguard style device which enables the mouth to rest in a position that allows the cartilage of the jaw to self-repair in a matter of weeks or months depending on the severity of the problem and how frequently the MOJO is used.
These exercises I demonstrate in my video (below) will enhance the effectiveness of the MOJO by increasing blood flow to the area to speed repair, and by strengthening the muscles used in correct jaw posture. The exercises also act as a non surgical facelift for the jaw area.
The MOJO is also an anti snoring device. It holds the lower jaw in a position where the airway is supported and the soft palate doesn't collapse.
One of my clients was a lady in her late 70’s. When holding the jaw joint as she was opening and closing her mouth I could feel a grating sensation similar to the feeling of two pieces of broken terracotta grinding against one another. I suspect all the cartilage was gone. After 6 weeks of nightly MOJO use the action of her jaw when in use was smooth and gliding.
Here’s how you’ll know when it’s worked for you: The jaw will move normally. There will be no clicking. The chin will track in a straight line as you open your mouth. There will be no tender areas around the jaw. And whatever troublesome symptoms the “hidden impostor” has brought to your life will be resolved.