TMJ Dizziness

by Liza
(Johannesburg, South Africa)


I have been to numerous dentists and Maxillo Facial Specialists and all I get is another bite plate and Anti Inflammatories, which I am no longer able to take as they have caused gastritis. My question about dizziness has never been answered. Can TMJ cause bad dizziness? I don't have it every day but a lot of days and it causes me great distress and is making me anxious.

Hello Liza,
These are two probably two unrelated conditions.

There's a little test you can do; it's not easy but if you read carefully, perhaps you can do it. It's called the Hallpike Dix test, this is the basic examination and frankly like all such should really be done by an experienced practitioner. But since you have been unable to find someone, try this. It's normally done when you are having an episode of vertigo or dizziness.

Lie on several cushions so that your head can dangle in extension. You need another person to very carefully observe your eyes. Keep them open.

With the observer on one side of the bed, lie sideways, or on the floor, turn your head first to the left and then to the right, with your head in extension. Does it provoke the dizziness? Do your eyes begin to spin, or flick from side to side? It's called nystagmus.

If it provokes nothing, then sit on the bed, turn your head to the right and then very quickly drop onto your left side, keeping your head turned to the right. Do you become disoriented. Does the observer see your eyes spinning. It may only last a few seconds. Repeat with your head turned to the left, dropping quickly onto the right side.

If these tests provoke dizziness, and your eyes rotate or flick, then you have a condition called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, or BPPV. There's only one recognised treatment and it's called the Epley manoeuvres. Some chiropractors are knowledgeable about them, or a neurologist.

Let me know if Hallpark Dix is positive.

If your TMJ pain is not responding to a bite plate and NSAIDS then it's time to find someone else who knows about the jaw joint.

Try googling the chairperson of the Gauteng branch of the Chiropractic Association of South Africa, or CASA, and see if they can recommend someone. I'm afraid I'm five hours drive away, and that's not practical.

Dr B





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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.



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