I'm being treated by a neuromuscular dentist for what has been diagnosed as TMD. This is dentist number three.
Before Christmas he said that in spite of 45 minutes of using the tens machine on my neck, the muscles were still in spasm so he mentioned the word 'ascending' and told me that he suspected that I have spinal alignment issues. He said something like 75% of his patients are in this category. He mentioned NUCCA as a adjunct treatment.
NUCCA chiropractors just look at the atlas veterbrae and they call it the fuse box of the body as its where all the 'wiring' coming out of the brain enters the spinal column. It has to sit squarely between the skull base and the C2 - if not blood vessels and nerves will be compromised causing all sorts of disparate and extremely unpleasant effects throughout the body
So I was gradually getting my head around it all but in a kind of disinterested way because I still though my primary problem was TMD. New Year's day for some reason I got out my MRIs from last March, they mainly show the TMJ in open and closed views but there was a sheet showing 15 horizontal slices through my head and neck. I looked at the lowest one and figured it was through my atlas. What I saw I couldn't believe. It was markedly rotated up to the left. I had to sit down and I felt waves of relief washing through my body because I felt as if I had finally found out what was wrong with me.
I saw the NUCCA lady last week. I showed her the MRI and she confirmed that my atlas was rotated. In addition she pointed out to me how my whole posture had been affected. My head was tilted to the left, my left shoulder was way higher than the right, my pelvis was rotated causing one leg to be 1/2 inch shorter that the other. So it was a total mess. She took 3 precise x-rays which confirmed that my atlas was rotated 8 degrees.
I returned after lunch and had the adjustment. It was very gentle and I don't understand how it works, she used the words 'Newtonian mechanics'. What I do know is that I suddenly felt something very deep and powerful had happened. I know this sounds weird and I would have been a sceptic but when I stood up I realised she had given me a new body.
I looked in the mirror, my shoulders were even and my head wasn't tilting. Then she asked me to walk around the room and I could hardly believe how different it felt. I was making much more even contact on the ground and everything felt massively more balanced.
She did more x-rays post the adjustment and showed me how the rotation had been reduced.
I know this is a long post but I wanted to share this news with everybody on this board because my message is TMJ specialists are great but you have to remember that is just what they are, specialists and they are looking only for one thing.
Sometimes you need to step back and look at the bigger picture. Thankfully dentist number three was able to do this but its taken a long time to get to this point and although I am incredibly relieved I am also angry in some way. I know I did have some TMD issues as well which is hardly surprising when you see how close the atlas is to the jaw joint but I believe that they were secondary and based on my experience I would encourage people on here to get their spinal alignment checked because its all interconnected.
Last edited by pipdog; 01-12-2009 at 03:23 AM.
Reason: More info
Hi pipdog, this was a great visit and great progress! Thanks so much for sharing.
So you didn't actually need to do any dental work? It seems that your body just didn't align itself for some reason. I completely agree with your conclusion about the importance of seeing the bigger picture. We have one body, not body parts in a pile, it's all connected.
Congratulations on your new body!
I am happy for you too - you seem to be on the same journey or progression I followed in terms of the treatment of your symptoms. I have been saying for a long time now that even if there a underlying bite or occlusion issue the neck or spine is ultimately involved and I have been told by every chiro I have gone to that thorasic or c-spine problems can result in symptoms that mimic tmj as well and often patients have their bites adjusted or jaws repositioned - which can make things worse - for no reason.
It seems you are holding the adjustments which is good as well. I found after 7-8 mos with the NUCCA chiro I no longer saw continued improvement or any improvement with some other symptoms - it basically helped with relieving my tinnutus, head noise, ear, head and facial pain and it did help straighten my shoulders and neck out quite a bit. So at one point I stopped going simply b/c although it helped with many symptoms it still was not addressing my facial spasms. And that is when my dentist referred me to a cranial chiro as he felt my problem also involved cranial derangement which the NUCCA chiros do not address. Also I have been told no dental treatments of tmj will work if your c-spine and cranial alignment is off kilter - in fact dental treatments may actually incorporate the mis-alignment due to measurements taken by the dentist at the time and therefore perpetuate the derangement and of course your symptoms and dysfunction.
I wish you good luck and continued improvement with your treatment and look forward to hearing how things go with your treatment and overall improvement.
I'm so excited to hear that. In a little bit, maybe I will be writing a similar review.
luvtocamp- that's a good question. For me it was a bit of both. My ortho put a single elastic only one side of my jaw for an extended period of time(lower 1st molar to upper canine) so that teeth can shift contralaterally into an unstable position and THAT put a spanner in the works. That's when I first saw my jaws on either side didn't look symmetric anymore but my bite felt fine. Later more elatics that gave my atlas the final blow out of allignment. The effect of his work is clearly imprinted physically on my face and jaws today especially because not much circulation goes there.
Ultimately the atlas is the culpit because even though the asymmetry appeared early on my bite was fine until I felt something in my neck move and get stuck.