This 36 year-old woman was referred to us by a friend and co-worker who got great results from her care here for a similar problem. In her consultation, she reported that, “She was having constant neck pain, an annoying clicking in her jaw when she opened and closed her mouth to talk or chew and that frequently her jaw would get ache and occasionally lock-up, and that she’s suffered from frequent debilitating migraine headaches for the last 20 years.”
On examination, she had tenderness, tightness, and swelling in her neck as well as her right temporal-mandibular joint. We took some initial x-rays of her neck which you can see the view from the side below:
You can see that her neck has lost the normal curve (red line), her head has moved forward, and in the lower part of her neck the disc spaces are decreased with calcium building up and spurs forming indicating disc degeneration that has gone on for decades unchecked and as a consequence has continually gotten progressively worse. Which ultimately was causing pressure on the nerves in her neck.
Once I found out exactly what was causing the problem and exactly what kind of condition her spine was in, and after performing a few other necessary orthopedic and neurological tests (to rule anything else out), I then performed a successful test adjustment (to find out if we could even correct what was causing the problem) I was confident we could help her and put her on a treatment plan which included a set schedule of chiropractic adjustments, in conjunction with a physical therapy modality called electronic muscle stimulation (to help reduce the muscle tightness and joint swelling), as well as certain restrictions on acts of daily living (sitting, standing, sleeping, bending, lifting, etc.) and the home use of therapeutic ice at specific time intervals to control the inflammation (instead of potential dangerous and more expensive oral anti-inflammatories).
After treating her 3 times a week for 2 weeks then 2 times a week for 2 more weeks we stopped and took another look and some progress films to see what, if anything, had changed. Which you can see below to the right next to her initial film for comparison.
As you can see, the curve improved slightly toward normal (red line) and her head has moved slightly back and there is a decrease in the calcium build up as well as a slight increase in the heights of the deteriorated discs. The neck pain and migraine headaches have reduced in intensity, frequency, and duration and she notices much less jaw pain and clicking.
We continued her treatment as planned 2 times a week for 4 more weeks, switching her to a physical therapy modality called intersegmental traction (to help remove joint adhesions and promote regeneration of the degenerated discs), and then re-examined her. At which point she reported was even better had very little neck pain, migraine headaches, jaw pain and clicking.
We then gave her a few specific stretches and exercises to do at home and continued to check and adjust her as planned once a week for 4 more weeks to keep her spine in alignment while she stabilized it.
Following those 4 weeks she was re-examined and we took more x-rays to see if we accomplished what we need to. Which you can see below to the right next to her initial one again for a comparison.
As you can see, the side curve improved significantly toward near normal (red line), her head has moved back toward normal over her shoulders, and she has retained the decrease in the calcium build up and the increased heights of the deteriorated discs now she’s far from perfect because of how much damage over decades of neglect and lack of proper chiropractic care, however, her migraine headaches are completely gone, has no jaw pain, and has only occasional jaw clicking and slight neck stiffness that goes away after performing her prescribed exercises and stretches.