NeuroCranial Restructuring® UK
Through NCR® treatment the temporal bones of the skull move into a more symmetrical alignment. As the sphenoid bone is manipulated, both temporal bones which directly articulate with it are moved and begin to line up better. As a result the lower jaw hangs more symmetrically and many of the symptoms of TMJ dysfunction are ameliorated. NCR® is sometimes the complete answer to resolving TMJ dysfunction but many times the patient will have to seek some form of fine tuning with an appropriate dentist or orthodontist to gain full recovery. The dentist's job is made much easier and the result much more predictable and stable if NCR® treatment is carried out simultaneously.
What is TMJ dysfunction? TMJ is the abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. It is commonly referred to as the jaw joint. It is the joint where the lower jaw (mandible) attaches to the skull (temporal bones). It is a complex joint that allows a range of motion. It consists of the condyle of the mandible slotting into the fossa or depression in the temporal bones. There is a disc between the bones that facilitates smooth opening and closing of the joint and it is held stable by ligaments, tendons and musculature. It is a bilateral joint and should be symmetrical.
TMJ dysfunction is the umbrella term for any symptom experienced within the joint, either bilaterally or unilaterally. These symptoms can range from clicking or popping noises and sensations as the disc is displaced during opening or closing, grinding sensations (crepitus) as the bones rub against each other which can cause degeneration in the bones and lead to osteoarthritis, tight, sore muscles during mastication, headaches, nerve pain (trigeminal neuralgia) and neck and low back pain. TMJ dysfnction is also linked to a range of other health conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia, dysmenorrhea, depression and other emotional problems. TMJ dysfunction is a very complex syndrome and the there exists a great deal of debate as to the aetiology (cause) and treatment of the condition that is beyond the scope of this website. It is not life threatening but can severely reduce the quality of life. It is estimated to occur in 20 - 30% of the adult population and occurs more frequently in females.
The most common treatments are either aimed at symptom suppression using painkillers or anti inflammatory drugs which are only temporary at best. Dentists often make patients simple acrylic occlusal splints to stop a patient biting a certain way. These can be effective but again are only a short term solution. A more long term solution is extensive orthodontic and orthopaedic work or in severe cases maxillofacial surgery to replace the joints completely. Some of the therapies are effective but often times they fail. The NCR® approach to TMJ dysfunction considers not just the position of the mandible and the teeth but also the relative position of the temporal bones of the skull which the mandible attaches to. Often times well meaning dentists or orthodontists will try to reposition the mandible to relieve symptoms but their treatment will be ineffective because they don't consider the position of the temporal bones. They are essentially trying to align the lower jaw to a wonky head. It is analogous to a carpenter trying to hang a door in a wonky door frame, he has two choices. He can shave bits off the door and try to reposition the hinges so the door hangs and functions properly which looks odd and often functions poorly or he can level the door frame first then attempt to hang the door in a symmetrical frame! Much more logical!