Body by Blower - Dr. Brian Blower DC Chiropractic and TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint)
By Dr. Brian G Blower, DC
Mar 1, 2013 - 9:11:15 AM
Rory McIlroy #1 golfer in the world withdrew from the Honda Classic golf
tourney today (March 1, 2013). because of problems with his wisdom tooth. He was
playing very poorly at the time. He may have what my son Nathen had. Read on to decide.
My son Nathen,
came to me the other day with a painful tooth on the upper left molar
He is a tall and aesthetic young
man very active and gifted, especially in soccer which he plays midweek and
coaches on the weekends as well.
As his mother had already
booked a dental appointment for the problem, my son came to me perhaps more to
inform me of his pain and not necessarily to consult for the causes of the
painful tooth syndrome.
Having had a long history
working alongside many fine dentists in the Vancouver area during the 70’s and
80’s I was suspicious of the pain syndrome and the clinical course of his
During the period of time I was
undergoing crown and on lay restorative work for my own mouth I had the good
fortune to be linked up with one of the most prominent oral surgeons and
teachers at the University of
Columbia in Canada.
Because of the time it takes
for the procedures of oral reconstruction there was plenty of it to chat about
our health interests and we formed a close bond regarding the chiropractic
versus conventional dental care of a malfunctioning TMJ, his specialty at the
Over the years we then shared
numerous patients with this common TMJ problem.
At that same time too I was
studying a richly endowed post graduate course in neurology, anatomy,
physiology, nutrition and acupuncture called Applied Kinesiology (AK).
Part of the format of the course is to be
particular in functional diagnosis, remembering at all times that the human
body is what it is.
A body is not necessarily
what someone may tell us what-he-thinks-it-is.
Our body got here by being good at what it does best and seems to be
built up on that premise.
eats, from the womb to the tomb, we eat all of the time.
Hence the peculiarity of our anatomy and our
interest in the constantly functioning TMJ.
Our body has unique
circumstances that sets it apart from all of the other bodies on this
One of them is that our jaw and
our bite has to work in the upright standing, or upright sitting position.
The joints of the jaw where
they meet the head are located just slightly inferior and anterior to the ear
canals. (below and in front of the canals) The hole in the base of our skull
for the spinal cord entrance and exit has moved to allow head pitch over the
years, to help with upright posture.
Many syndromes of ear and
face pain as well as balance problems relate to the mal-positioning of the jaw
joint while stress is further cast to and from the skull and the internal
structures of the head, neck and shoulders.
These constrictions often
compromise the nerves coursing out of several holes or foramina at our skull’s
In turn these stressed and
restricted autonomic nerves may cause many of our gut and vascular symptoms
like blood pressure changes and arrhythmias.
But that day my concern was about the jaw’s position and tooth pain.
Back to Nathen...
I looked inside his mouth and found the tooth
involved to be perfectly whole and healthy looking, as were all the rest of
Although I could not see or
examine between the teeth, by and large there wasn’t any untoward looking
cavity, the gums looked healthy and I didn’t see how a dentist could proceed to
diminish the pain without outside intervention such as a splint to guard against
abnormal occlusion or braces or both.
Far too much of a potpourri for us to get into without first touching
more fundamental bases for his tooth pain.
Chiropractors are trained in
helping our body get its bones and joints back to their optimal axial
A healthy body must present
just like we would fresh out of the factory.
The factory specifications like the factory blueprints dictate what we
structurally should always be like to be healthy, everything working as per
Suspicion that Nathen’s
problem of tooth pain may be a symptom of the basic root cause of misalignment
of the head, neck and therefore the jaw led to an examination to assess that
A quick history gave rise to
the information of his heading the soccer ball rather vigorously during the
last game and practice sessions.
and a few tackles and we have the potential to subluxate or misalign the
structures of the upper back and neck and even the head itself.
Dozens of bones and hundreds
of joint surfaces abide in the upper back and neck regions along with hundreds
of muscles some particularly small and vulnerable.
But how does turning or
twisting, subluxating the TMJ come about?
Think of us this way.
Our head is like a twelve to fifteen pound
egg, no pun intended.
Stand the egg up
on it’s pointy end and then place it on a flat ring like holder, two surfaces
or facets on the top of the holder match two surfaces on the bottom curve of
The ring like bone that holds
the head is the atlas vertebrae.
Remember Greek mythology, “Atlas holds up the world.”
Now think of the atlas being
the top bone of a slightly curved stack of seven bony vertebrae.
Remember them by thinking bones are white, so
is snow, “Snow White and the seven neck bones.”
From the rib cage up to the head the seven
bones make up our neck.
Let’s now think of the egg
standing on the top of the narrow stack of seven bones and the jaw fitting onto
the middle of the front of the egg, your face, all the while it is being held in
place and driven up and down by muscles coming from the head and face as well
as from the front of the stack of bones of the neck, especially around the
If the placement and axial
alignment of all of the structures is true to the factory blueprint and meet
those specifications then we have an evenly swinging, opening and closing set
of two TMJ’s, one under the left ear and one under the right.
That even swinging and
gliding jaw is healthy, but the joints are in line only while the muscles of the
face, neck and shoulders are working to potential all of the time.
Think of the strain on this stack of seven
bones with the fifteen pound head balancing on top while heading a soccer ball,
or falling or in a whiplash accident.
Now let’s take a look at
By observing his head alignment
from behind one of the ears appeared held lower that the other and was forward
in it’s carriage too.
Further, one of
the shoulders did similarly in it’s drooping from level position and when he
turned his head the lower part of the seven neck bones produced a binding that
caused him discomfort at their base.
seven neck vertebrae couldn’t slide and glide upon one another properly, that
With the neck and head
misaligning it becomes clear that the factory blueprints were not represented
with Nathen’s carriage, his posture, and that leads to the next step in the
I am a chiropractic Applied
That means that AK
practitioners test muscles and correlate the findings to determine how to best
get the human body back to it’s blueprint potential, all of the weaker muscles
My findings from manual
muscle testing (MMT) help the process of accurately replacing and relocating
our bodies boney structures.
boney joints are adjusted into their correct positions they allow the nerves to
turn the non functioning parts, the weaker muscles, back into functioning
parts, thereby meeting health’s potential, all of the parts working.
Nerves nourish but they have
to reach the parts unadulterated to make the connection.
Only well nourished nerves enjoying a closed
circuit, looping throughout the spine, brain, peripheral and autonomic systems
without resistance can then allow the muscles the capacity to do their work
under a load, all of the time.
65% of our body is muscle and
muscles do the “work.”
makes sense to me to manually challenge the workability, the strength, of the
muscular parts, one group at a time, comparing left side to right, front to
back and see if they are indeed functioning.
A muscle test of Nathen’s
neck and upper back showed several individual muscles not responding in a
Upon testing he was
not able to make some of them work on one side while the same muscle was
perfectly strong to his command on the other.
Some of them were weakened on both sides.
To be healthy all of them must work to
I then proceeded to deeply
palpate the spine and ribs noting several places of tenderness and abnormal
adjustments (see column “what is a chiropractic adjustment?”) I painlessly
manipulated the misaligned bones of his thoracic spine, the ribs of the upper
chest wall along with his head and neck bones into positions more closely
relating to the anatomically correct human blueprint.
Manually muscle testing to
re-examine his abilities to do work showed that the adjustments had removed the
resistances that were weakening the systems and their function returned upon
Remember that nerves nourish
and it takes time to nurture tissues back to health once re-enervated.
I told Nathen to give his sore tooth a few
days for the jaw to be encouraged to settle into a more appropriate position on
I was thinking, through years
of experience, that the replacement of the boney joints of the vertebrae and
ribs, which encouraged the muscles to return to work, would resolve the problem
of the tooth pain by correctly shifting pressures away from the overloaded area.
The adjustments had already put his head and
drooping shoulders back into balance.
As it turns out we were
The next morning Nathen remarked
at how the tooth pain has relented and his neck and shoulders were relieved of
the “up tight” stressful feeling as well.
And no other reward is greater to a parent than to have their child well
and whole again.
We cancelled the extra dental
appointment and Nathen hasn’t mentioned his tooth pain again.
So if your children are
active and complain of headaches or stress in the head, neck or shoulders
remember Nathen’s story.
Look at your
children closely and if they present with winging of the shoulder blades or one
shoulder lower than the other, if they present with “sloppy posture” remember
Nate’s story again.
Trust your chiropractor.
Chiropractic care is safe, drugless,
affordable and painless.
And who knows
what de-stressing a spine to-day may prevent from burdening ourselves or our
children both now and in the future?
About the author:
Dr. Brian Blower has been a licensed
chiropractor for over 40 years
practicing Applied Kinesiology and has been in private practice on
Grand Bahama Island for the past
15 years. He is a founding member of Applied Kinesiology Canada and was
educated at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. He is a founding
member of the Bahamas Association of Chiropractic. He has treated
many celebrities and also specializes in sports medicine. He can be
reached at 242-351-5424/ 727-2454. You
can also find Dr. Blower on Facebook HERE