What does Fibromyalgia have to do with my TMJ?
If you are one of the 5% of the Australian population experiencing fibromyalgia or some other chronic pain syndrome, have you considered the possibility that your pain and fatigue could be linked to a mechanical problem with your upper neck and jaw?
A team of dentists from Germany has found an 84% improvement in the symptoms of fibromyalgia following specific dental splint therapy!
That is a massive number for a condition that so many “fibromyalgia specialists” say is impossible to cure because “We don’t know what causes it.”
Granted, fibromyalgia can have lots of layers associated with it including chronic infections (viral, bacterial, or parasitic), metal poisoning, and post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Nevertheless, the research from these dentists reveals that there is also a significant physical element to the syndrome that links fibromyalgia with TMJ disorders.
The question now is, “Do you have a TMJ disorder that could possibly be connected with your fibromyalgia?”
And then if so, “Why do you have a TMJ disorder in the first place? And what canyon do about it?”
What does Fibromyalgia have to do with my Neck?
To answer this question, we may consider the findings of a team of clinical researchers in Canada who describe an “interconnected" relationship between the physical integrity of the upper neck and the TMJ.
These findings have been supported recently by a research team in Spain, who have identified that TMJ dysfunction is correlated with pain and abnormal movement of the joints in the upper neck.
In brief, the mechanical structure of the vertebrae in your upper neck - i.e., the C1 and C2 vertebrae, which are also known as the atlas and axis - affects the function of your TMJ and visa versa.
Therefore, it may be possible for a physical injury in your neck to be the source of a TMJ condition, which manifests as a chronic pain syndrome such as fibromyalgia.
Often, fibromyalgia and chronic pain are only part of the bigger picture. Often, fibromyalgia is associated with other conditions:
- Clenching or grinding your teeth
- TMJ pain, clicking or popping in your jaw
- Headaches, especially across the base of your skull
- Neck Pain
- Dizziness or Vertigo
- Ear Pain or Tinnitus
- Fatigue and Insomnia
- Especially if you experience one or more of these symptoms in addition to fibromyalgia, TMJ pain, and headaches, it is especially important that you have your upper neck assessed to determine if there is a connection.
What does my Neck have to do with my TMJ?
So how exactly does this connection exist?
It is a combination of anatomical and neurological connections.
First, the centre of gravity that allows your jaw to open-and-close is positioned in the body of the C2 vertebra. Mechanical rearrangements that affect the alignment or motion of C2 relative to your skill and/or the C1 vertebra may affect this relationship and thereby affect the alignment and motion of the TMJ.
The consequence may be grinding, popping, or clenching the jaw.
Second, there is an observed relationship between the shape of the joints in your TMJ and also she shares of the joints between your skull and C1 vertebra (known as the craniocervical junction). Derangement or damage such as osteoarthritis of one may have an impact on the other.
Third, the neurological processing centre from pain, pressure and proprioceptive (balance) information from the head, neck, and jaw descends through the brainstem to the level of C2-C4 in your neck.
Therefore, if there is any mechanical irritation that causes physical impingement or disruption of the normal neurological volume that allows your brain to process information, it can result in abnormal signals that are perceived as headaches, migraines, neuralgia (e.g., trigeminal neuralgia or occipital neuralgia), dizziness, vertigo, and even fibromyalgia or similar myofascial pain.
It deserves repeating:
The structural integrity of your upper neck - the C1 and C2 vertebrae - may have a profound impact on the health and function of not only your TMJ but may also contribute towards myofascial pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia.
Can an Upper Cervical Treatment help me if I experience fibromyalgia and TMJ pain?
When you understand the relationship between your upper neck, TMJ, and a possible link to fibromyalgia, you’re probably wondering why you’ve never heard of it before!
Well, I can’t answer that question for you.
What I can offer, however, is an approach that focuses on the health of your neck and a possible solution to help you improve your quality of life if your experience TMJ and fibromyalgia. It is called Blair upper cervical care.
“Blair” is a special division of chiropractic named after its developer, Dr. William Blair, who researched this unique approach in the USA over 70 years ago.
In brief, Blair upper cervical care is a custom-tailored approach to healthcare that focuses on the alignment and movement of the top vertebrae in your neck - the atlas (C1) and axis (C2) - and how misalignments of this vertebra can negatively affect the nervous system and the health of the human body.
The reason it is “custom-tailored” is because the Blair method recognises the fact that every person is built differently on both the outside and the inside. Therefore, in order to provide the most powerful correct with the least intervention and greatest probability for success, it is important to take your own body structure into account.
That way, any misalignments that are detected can be observed, measured, and then addressed in the most precise manner possible.
It is for this reason that unlike many forms of spinal manipulation, there is no neck twisting, cracking, or popping with the Blair upper cervical technique.
In recent years, Dr. Blair’s work has gone through a resurgence and Renaissance period thanks to advancements in clinical imaging, which has revealed that the model proposed by Dr Blair so many years ago is exactly how the upper neck moves.
In Australia, the Blair technique remains a relatively unknown healthcare option with only 5 active practitioners using it in all Australia (at the time of this writing).
Can an Upper Cervical Treatment help me if I experience fibromyalgia and TMJ pain?
The way that Blair upper cervical chiropractic care works is based on the theory of self-healing. That is, the body heals itself!
Therefore, a Blair upper cervical chiropractic doctor does not claim to treat TMJ or fibromyalgia, which are the effects of underlying problems in the body.
Instead, a Blair chiropractic doctor looks to address misalignments in the upper neck, which would be affecting the body’s normal ability to function and express health, and thereby facilitate the healing process.
If you have been looking for a drug-free approach to addressing your fibromyalgia but have never considered how your TMJ or upper neck could be involved, I hope that you have found this article to be both informative and valuable.
If so, we would be honored if you would take the next step.
Can we help you? At this point, we honestly don’t know. And so the process begins where we would like to hear from you.
Our practice, Atlas Health located in North Lakes (north Brisbane), offers a 15-minute complimentary over-the-phone consultation with our principal chiropractic doctor, Dr. Jeffrey Hannah, to discuss the particulars of your condition and to answer any questions you may have so that you can decide if care may be right for you.
Dr. Jeffrey Hannah is an advanced certified instructor with the Blair Chiropractic Society, International. He has over 15 years of clinical experience in upper cervical care and working with people diagnosed with fibromyalgia. He is an international lecturer, speaker, author, and recognised leader in the field of Blair upper cervical care.
If you would like to arrange your complimentary consultation with Dr. Hannah, you can contact our office directly at 07 3188 9329 or complete the Contact Us form at the top of this page. One of our staff will reply to your email as soon as we are able.
We appreciate your time in reading this article, and we appreciate your consideration and trust in something as precious as your health.
Atlas Health Australia - “Hope, healing, and wellbeing from above-down, inside-out.”
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