TMJ Dysfunction, and Loss of Balance and Posture
TMJ Dysfunction, and Loss
of Balance and Posture
A loss of balance can be caused by many factors both local and systemic. If it is identified as a problem, referral to a physician may be appropriate to rule out the possibility that it is an indication of an underlying systemic condition.
This is especially the case if the loss of balance is of fast onset and there is no obvious trigger such as an automobile accident. Once a specific medical cause has been ruled out, then a possible dental cause should be considered.
A number of terms have been used to describe a loss of balance. These include a loss of equilibrium, dizziness, giddiness, loss of propricoception and vertigo. Vertigo is described as a condition where the sufferer has a sense of spinning around or that the room is spinning around the individual. Oral factors, particularly the position of the mandible (lower jaw), play an important part in the maintenance of balance and subsequent postural adaptation. To a great extent, dental awareness of a loss of equilibrium and postural adaptation has been an incidental finding during TMJ diagnosis and treatment.
On the right is the photograph of a 72 year old patient with a history of chronic lower back pain. Other symptoms include TMJ discomfort with restriction when attempting to open the mouth, and also loss of equilibrium to the point where she felt that everything around her was spinning.
Profile before treatment showing increase lordosis (forward curvature of the spine) and kyphosis (hump backed) and a forward head posture.
Profile after treatment showing improvement of the posture and head position.
The mounted model of her upper jaw shows a slope to the left.
Disclaimer The material presented in this article is intended to enlighten those individuals who may be seeking alternative means of treatment. No claim is made that such products, techniques, or devices will cure or improve any health condition. Any alternative therapies mentioned in this article should be viewed as adjuncts to conventional medical and dental practice and not a replacement. Patients treated wtih the ALF Appliances are also encouraged to see an osteopathic physician with cranial skills or other health care professionals.