(Don’t!) Chew On This

Sometimes, as healers, it’s our personal health challenges that make us better doctors. My own low back troubles led me to chiropractic school so that I could help others avoid back surgery, just as I was helped.  This year, I have been gifted with the answer to a 10-year search to my ear and head pain. This will make me a better doctor – both in compassion and in diagnostic and treatment skills.  In my search, I have seen MD’s, DC’s, acupuncturists, dentists, massage therapists and had upper cervical specific xrays, MRI’s, acugraphs, thermographs, etc. – all without any concrete answers.  What I have learned from Bill Esser, MS,PT,CCTT, (certified cervical and temporomandibular therapist, now living in Roseburg OR) has been nothing short of miraculous to me and to those who have suffered similarly.  In your own search for a solution to your headaches, ear, and neck pain, has anyone ever thoroughly examined your jaw?  

As it turns out, all that ear pain, head pain, and neck pain were not originating in the ear.   Jaw malfunction can refer pain to the ear, the side, back and top of the head, cause headaches, and perpetuate chronic spasms throughout the neck and into the shoulder.  Most people call this TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint). Officially, it is known as TMD (Temporamandibular Disorder).

As always, our doctors’ goal is to figure out why you’re hurting, and help you discover what is aggravating or causing your symptoms. Then we will teach you how to avoid it, and how to rebalance the musculature. If you have ever fallen as a child face-first, had an injury to the jaw in sports, been in a car accident, or just are a chronic teeth grinder, you may have TMD.  Luckily, our bodies are amazing in their healing capacity but if you have pain, then we can help you make the necessary changes to recover.

Tips to keep from aggravating your jaw joint:  

– Stop grinding or touching your teeth together in any way!  When clenching your jaw, even mildly, your joint is being loaded 24/7 – how can a       perpetually loaded joint have any chance to heal?

– Learn to decompress that joint safely when symptoms appear.  We can show you.

-Keep healthy strong, flexible, and balanced muscle tone in your neck to keep from adding stress to that joint.  Your body is connected.

– Practice good upright posture.  Forward head posture causes that jaw joint to experience increased stress and pull from the neck.

– If nighttime grinding is your downfall, consult your dentist for a night guard.  Or, start wearing the night guard you already own.

We help patients care for joints in their body every day – here’s one that, as I can testify, is frequently overlooked or ignored.

Heather Escobar, D.C.


Southern Oregon Sports & Spine
987 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR. 97520
(541) 482-0625
Check out their website here

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