Archive for category Temporomandibular Joint Disorders



The purpose of this study is to describe chiropractic treatment of 14 patients who presented with signs and symptoms of temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD).


This is a retrospective case series of 14 patients, including 13 adults and 1 child. The majority of these patients were undergoing chiropractic care for spine-related conditions when they presented with additional TMD signs and symptoms. They were evaluated and treated with Activator Methods International published protocols relative to the temporomandibular joint before the addition of treatment to the suprahyoid muscles.


All pre- and postadjustment assessments were recorded using a numeric pain scale. The resulting average showed a reduction in the patients’ pain scores from the initial visit of 8.3 ± 1.6 to the last visit at 1.4 ± 1.1 with an 80.9% ± 15.4% improvement. The average number of visits was 13.6 ± 8.2.


All patients selected for this case series showed a reduction of temporomandibular dysfunction symptoms.

Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, Volume 14, Issue 4, December 2015, Pages 279–284.

Author information: Steven Pavia, DC, Rebecca Fischer, DC, Richard Roy, DC, PhD; private practice of chiropractic.


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Temporomandibular pain has multiple etiologies and a range of therapeutic options. In this pilot study, the authors assessed the feasibility of conducting a larger trial to evaluate chiropractic treatment of temporomandibular disorders (TMDs).


The authors assigned 80 participants randomly into one of the following four groups, all of which included a comprehensive self-care program: reversible interocclusal splint therapy (RIST), Activator Method Chiropractic Technique (AMCT) (Activator Methods International, Phoenix), sham AMCT and self-care only. They made assessments at baseline and at month 2 and month 6, including use of the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders.


The authors screened 721 potential participants and enrolled 80 people; 52 participants completed the six-month assessment. The adjusted mean change in current pain over six months, as assessed on the 11-point numerical rating scale, was 2.0 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.1-3.0) for RIST, 1.7 (0.9-2.5) for self-care only, 1.5 (0.7-2.4) for AMCT and 1.6 (0.7-2.5) for sham AMCT. The authors also assessed bothersomeness and functionality.


The authors found the study design and methodology to be manageable. They gained substantial knowledge to aid in conducting a larger study. AMCT, RIST and self-care should be evaluated in a future comparative effectiveness study.


This pilot study was a necessary step to prepare for a larger study that will provide clinicians with information that should be helpful when discussing treatment options for patients with TMD.

J Am Dent Assoc. 2013 Oct;144(10):1154-63. [PMID:24080932]

Author information: DeVocht JW, Goertz CM, Hondras MA, Long CR, Schaeffer W, Thomann L, Spector M, Stanford CM. Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport, Iowa. Identifier: NCT01021306

Free PMC Article

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To describe the chiropractic management of a 30-year-old woman with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and to discuss the general etiology and management of TMJ conditions.


The patient suffered from daily unremitting jaw pain for 7 years, which was the apparent sequela of a series of 8 root canals on the same tooth. Pain radiated from her TMJ into her shoulder and was accompanied by headache, tinnitus, decreased hearing, and a feeling of congestion in her right ear. Symptoms were not reduced by medication or other dental treatments.


The patient underwent a series of chiropractic treatments using the instrument and protocol of Activator Methods, International. During the first 5 months, her VAS rating of jaw pain decreased from 60 (on a scale of 0 to 100) to 9, her ability to eat solid foods increased, headache intensity and frequency diminished, and her maximum mouth opening without pain measurement increased from 22 to 28 mm. Overall, 20 months of chiropractic treatment along with 2 concurrent months of massage therapy yielded slow but continual progress that finally resulted in total resolution of all symptoms except some fullness of the right cheek.


Use of the Activator Methods protocol of chiropractic treatment was beneficial for this patient and merits further study in similar cases.

Altern Ther Health Med. 2005 Nov-Dec;11(6):70-3. [PMID:16320863]

Author information: DeVocht JW, Schaeffer W, Lawrence DJ. Palmer Center for Chiropiractic Research, Davenport, Iowa, USA.

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To determine if there was a basis for the treatment of temporomandibular disease (TMD) using the chiropractic protocol developed by Activator Methods, International.


Private, solo practice of an Activator advanced proficiency rated chiropractor with 15 years experience.


Prospective case series.


Nine adult volunteers with articular TMD recruited from the practice of the treating clinician. Main outcome measures Change from baseline to follow-up of Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and maximum active mouth opening without pain.


Full spine and TMJ adjusting in accordance with the advanced protocol of Activator Methods, International. Participants were typically seen 3 times per week for 2 weeks and according to individual progress thereafter for 6 more weeks.


Eight participants completed outcome assessments. The median VAS decrease was 45 mm (range 21-71); all experienced improvement. The median increase of mouth opening was 9 mm (range 1-15); all showed improvement.


The results of this prospective case series indicated that the TMD symptoms of these participants improved following a course of treatment using the Activator Methods, International protocol. Consequently, further investigation of this type of chiropractic treatment for patients with the articular type of TMD is warranted.

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2003 Sep;26(7):421-5. [PMID:12975628]

Author information: DeVocht JW, Long CR, Zeitler DL, Schaeffer W.  Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, 741 Brady Street, Davenport, Iowa 52803, USA.

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