Neck and Back Pain

Dr. Shapira Chicago, Deerfield, Evanston, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Libertyville, Lincolnshire, Mettawa, Morton Grove, Northbrook, Northfield, Skokie, TMJ Neck & Back Pain, Vernon Hills, Wilmette, Winnetka 16 Comments

Relieving Neck and Back Pain Can Make You Sane Again

neck-and-back-pain-chicagoDo you have a stiff neck, back pain, aching shoulders that have been tormenting you for far too long?  Dr. Shapira likes to see patients when their pain is present.  Relieving their pain in a few minutes allows him to understand and diagnose the unique underlying causes of their pain.  Most patients pain even if it has been present for years can be temporarily relieved in just a few minutes.  These few minutes are an important part of the diagnostic process.

Have you been to the doctor to find out what was causing the pain? Suffering from neck, back or shoulder pain day after day certainly isn’t normal. Chronic pain is unlikely to be caused by being tired or overworked.

If you have been unsuccessful at finding effective treatment, it could be you’ve been looking in the wrong place or you have been treating only a part of the problem. Your pain could be caused by a problem in your jaw joints and the surrounding muscles and fascia. These joint complexes are known to be strongly related  neck and back pain when they are not functioning properly. The good news? If these joint complexes are the source of your pain, there may be relief in sight.  These joint complexes are by nature complex.  Understanding the entire physiologic system is necessary to achieve success.  We are not treating just joint moises or just joints.

How your TMJ can be a pain in the neck

Neck, shoulder or  back pain can be caused by a malfunctioning temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This is the joint that is found at both sides of your mouth allowing you to speak and chew through up and down, back and forth, and sideways movements.

It is a sensitive part of your body and, if your bite moves out of alignment, it can lead to significant pain radiating out to all different parts of the body, including the neck, back, and shoulders.  More than half of all input to the brain comes through the trigeminal nerve as it passes through the reticular activating system.

When your jaw is out of alignment, it causes the surrounding muscles to work extra hard to correct the misalignment. As your jaw muscles tire, they recruit other muscles, the ones in your neck, shoulders and back, to help. When they tire, chronic neck, back or shoulder pain is often the result.  Forward head posture is a frequent issue in TMD patients creating significant changes through the entire spine.  These patients frequently are treated by chiropractors, which offer temporary relief. Long term relief entails correction of the underlying causes.

This condition’s medical name is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). If this is what you are experiencing, you are not alone; TMD affects up to 20 million Americans on a daily basis.

There’s no reason why TMJ can’t be beat

If your TMJ is what’s causing your neck and back pain, there is good reason to believe that it can be resolved with modern physiologic dentistry techniques.

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of elimination. TMJ problems are known to cause painful symptoms, so, when no other diagnosis seems to fit, TMJ should be suspected. With TMJ problems it doesn’t matter how many pain killers you take, they will only give temporary relief. Long-lasting relief comes with TMJ correction that focuses on realigning your bite.  Long term postural correction may require physical therapists , osteopaths or chiropractors working together.

Balance your bite

tmj-neck-biteBy booking a dental appointment, a TMJ diagnosis can be made. The first step your dentist should take is to check your medical records to confirm there isn’t a medical problem behind your neck and back pain.

The next step is to measure your jaw function and relax your jaw’s muscles by massaging them with an electrical stimulator at a low frequency which stimulates the flow of the blood. As soon as the tension has been relieved in your muscles the best position for your bite will be found.

Once relaxed and back in alignment, there are various treatments used to keep your bite in the right position.This can include a custom-made, non invasive orthotic device or diagnostic physiologic orthotic  that is positioned over your teeth to help stabilize your bite, relieving the muscle strain that can create neck and back pain, among other symptoms. Orthodontics and dental restorations are also effective TMJ treatment but in most cases are done following pain relief and physiologic stabilization with the diagnostic orthotic.  The exception is the DNA Appliance that uses epigenetic orthodontics to change phenotypic gene expression.  In special circumstances it can be used as an initial treatment .

Once relieved of your pain, you’ll be amazed at how good it feels to comfortably  move in a pain free fashion again.  Normal physiology and function promotes ongoing health and wellness.

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