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.