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TMJ Dysfunction & Pain

What is TMJD?

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD) involves the joint that connects your jaw to your head, specifically the Temporal bone of the skull with the Mandible of the jaw. As there are 2 sides (left & right) to a human head, proper movement of these joints is critical for proper function. In reality, TMJD is an umbrella term for the many problems that can arise from dysfunction of this area. The most common complaints are:

Neck Pain

Painful Jaw Clicking


Decreased Jaw Range of Motion

Teeth Grinding

Jaw Clenching

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction typically can be distinguished into 2 classifications:



Muscular Dysfunction

The musculature of the jaw (masseter, pterygoid, temporalis) can become hypertonic, or tight, and dysfunctional, which can create painful and sore muscle, as well as uncoordinated movement.




Articular Dysfunction

The joint articulation itself can create problems, such as dislodging of the disc, arthritic degeneration, and/or inflammation. These conditions will irritate the sensitive nerve endings that cover the joint, creating pain.


Now, not much can be done from a non-invasive standpoint with regards to arthritic breakdown of a jaw joint, however, this is a much less common cause of TMJD.

Fortunately, the MOST common causes of TMJD problems likely stem from some level of muscular imbalance, consequently dislodging the articular disc of the TMJ joint. If this is indeed the case, Keystone's approach might be exactly the solution you've been looking for.

TMJD & Atlas Displacement

Atlas Displacement (AD) is a condition involving abnormal alignment, mechanics, and nervous system function stemming from the upper cervical spine. This area of the neck has unique characteristics that make it the “weakest link” in the spine and as such, susceptible to injury. Slips and falls, poor posture, sports injuries, whiplash, and car accidents are just a few of many factors that can contribute to structural instability in the upper neck region.

TMJD and AD can be intimately tied together through a brain structure known as the Brain Stem.

The brain stem is housed between the Atlas and the base of the skull, extending upward into the skull itself.

An important feature of the brain stem is the origination of what are called the Cranial Nerves. These vital nerves do not exit out of the spine, as most other nerves do. They actually begin to course out of the brain and brain stem, eventually exiting out of the skull. Therefore, a problem with one of the cranial nerves is usually indicative of a problem at the brain stem.


The important cranial nerves to mention here are the Trigeminal and Facial Nerves, specifically because they power, or innervate, the muscles of the face and jaw, teeth, brain, among other important structures.

If there has been an injury to the upper cervical spine, creating an Atlas Displacement, this can impact the health and function of the brain stem. While the top of the neck doesn’t apply direct pressure to the brain stem, the movement and function of the neck has large implications for this important piece of anatomy.

What does an Upper Cervical evaluation look like?

Instead of a conventional "One Size Fits All" approach, your Upper Cervical solution

is customized from many factors, such as your Health History,

3-D CT Scan, Complete NeuroStructural Examination, and

any risk factors that your condition might create. Our evaluation process is highlighted below.

3-D CBCT Scan

State-of-the-art 3-D CBCT imaging allows us to view the overall structural integrity of your upper neck. Viewing your unique structure in 3-D is necessary for calculating a specific Atlas Correction. This novel imaging is crucial for determining how much structural improvement is achievable.

NeuroStructural Examination

The initial Examination includes objective testing in the form of Static Postural Distortion Analysis, Dynamic Posturography Assessment, NeuroThermal Diagnostic Scanning, Proprioceptive, Visual, and Vestibular Testing, as well as an Expanded Neurological Exam.

Other testing will be performed if indicated. 

Corrective Office Appointments

Regular office visits are a flat fee-for-result and combine multiple modalities; Functional Neurology Exercises, Neuromuscular Re-education, Global Adjusting via Instrument and Drop Table methods, and Corrective Atlas adjusting.

Other tools are used when needed.


"  I have seen exceptional and lasting results

from his focus on the Upper Neck. "

Eric S.

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* Disclaimer: There is no guarantee of specific results. Results can vary depending on an individual’s unique health history and clinical circumstances.

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Keystone Chiropractic LKN 704-897-0328

19453 W. Catawba Ave., Ste.C, Cornelius NC 28031