Normal breathing occurs when air passes through the throat Muscles attach the jaw to the front of the neck and do not have time to relax when the accident occurs. They end up anchoring the jaw by holding it still so that the mouth opens too wide while the head snaps back. This excessive opening of the mouth with the head snapping backward causes the jaw joints to dislocate (TMJ dysfunction). They are rammed up against the back of the delicate part of the skull bone which encases the joints. The majority of whiplash accident victims also develop TMJ problems.
As with the spinal column, this may compress and damage the disc which typically cushions each jaw joint from these delicate areas. Since about 38%of all impulses that go to your brain pass the TMJ area, these displaced joints impinge on sensitive nerve endings causing a variety of symptoms. A whiplash injury can develop into chronic headache, ear problems. dizziness, eye problems and clicking or jaw pain. Typical whiplash symptoms include:
Neck pain,stiffness and decreased
range of motion
Numbness ofthe head and face
Blurring of vision and pain behind the eyes
Problems with balance (dizziness)
Ringing in the ears
Many times patients as well as health care providers do not suspect the jaw joints and muscles that may have damage. This aspect often goes unrecognized while the TMJ becomes worse and worse. Because diagnostic tests fail to provide useful information (soft tissue doesn’t show up on x-rays). Treatment should be approached by a “team” of health professionals. Using both orthopedic and neuromuscular treatment methods in addition to possible medicines. Besides a bite splint or mouth appliance which serve to reposition bones into a proper relationship with each other,here are other modes of treatment that offer relief: PHYSCIAL THERAPY, CHIROPRACTIC, NEUROMUSCULAR THERAPY(soft tissue work) ELECTROGALVANIC STIMULATION, ULTRASOUND, MOIST HEAT, INJECTIONS OF LOCAL ANESTHETICS INTO TRIGGER POINT AREAS and NEUROMUSCULAR EXERCISES.
When diagnosed early, TMJ disorders caused by whiplash can be treated with a high degree of success