Chronic pain, whether it is in soft tissues or joints, responds quite often to jaw orthopedic therapy.
This has to do with a couple of well known mechanisms that involve the trigeminal system.
First, basic brain research has shown that the trigeminal nerve has the ability to modulate all spinal
input into the brain. When trigeminal sensory input is abnormal due to jaw malalignment, the trigeminal system causes the brain to register spinal input abnormally. Hence, sensory input is perceived as pain which otherwise would not be.
Secondly, the trigeminal nerve has a predominant influence on Substance P levels in the body because of
its enormous size, and secondly by its influence on Nerve Growth Factor. Elevated Substance P levels
have been shown to correlate with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Substance P is known to
mediate the inflammatory pathway, as well as hypersensitize all nerve endings.
Thirdly, the trigeminal nerve is known to have a major input into the limbic brain, which controls the
neuroimmune response. Research has only recently come to understand the role of the trigeminal nerve
in nasal and environmental allergies. Publications only within the last year have theorized that it is the trigeminal nerve that mediates nasal allergies, sick building phenomenon, asthma, and environmental illness.
Research from Scandanavian countries has shown that TMJ dysfunction correlates well with rheumatioid
arthritis; that TMJ dysfunction preceeds the development of Rh factors, and that rhematoid symptoms
increase as the TMJ symptoms progress.
Lastly, I must point out that this is not a disease that I set out to treat, but one whose symptoms often
resolved in the course of treating TMJ dysfunction. Clinical experience would indicate that there would be a large number of patients who would have subclinical jaw dysfunction (covert and without pain) that is causing their arthritic symptoms.