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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