2nd… From Out-Thinking… Cranial Nerves … TMJ



Cranial Nerve 5 – “a nerve responsible for sensation in the face and motor functions such as biting and chewing.”

Cranial Nerve 7 – “emerges from the brainstem, controls the muscles of facial expression, and conveys taste sensations from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and oral cavity.” 

“A blank or expressionless face is one of the classic signs of Parkinson’s Disease, used as a principle diagnostic point by neurologists. If this is allowed to progress, the face can take on a “plastic mask” appearance: featureless (puffy), with a “waxy” or shiny appearance. Problems chewing, over-clenching and misalignment of the jaw are common symptoms too. Indeed, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are strongly correlated with PD.”

(I have extracted what follows from the preceding link on TMJ) TMJ was one of the reasons I have struggled to eat… but until now, I did not understand the correlation.

“A systematic review by Medlicott and Harris found that active exercise, manual mobilizations and postural training may be effective in treating temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.1 However, many therapists choose not to treat the condition unless the client is experiencing pain. I believe this represents a missed opportunity to address anatomical and functional problems in their early stages.”

“When the head and neck move forward in the sagittal plane, the brain’s visual proprioceptors cause the occiput to backward-bend on atlas. This remarkable brain stem reflex (Law of Righting) will cock the head back to level the eyes against the horizon even if it means ravaging the neck.” 

“Sustained isometric contraction in the suboccipitals reflexively weakens the longus capitis and colli antagonist muscles and places the entire nervous system in a heightened state of alert. With the head and neck jutted forward, passive tensile forces develop in the hyoid and digastric muscles.”

……………………..The brain, in essence, is trying to compensate for the forward head carriage by pulling back on the cranium using the jaw muscles


“There is GOOD IN EVERYTHING, IF ONLY WE LOOK FOR IT.” __Laura Ingalls Wilder
(From Ryan Holiday’s blog)

” Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the classic series Little House, lived this, facing some of the toughest and unwelcoming elements on the planet: harsh and unyielding soil, Indian territory, Kansas prairies, and the humid backwoods of Florida. Not afraid, not jaded — because she saw it all as an adventure. Everywhere was a chance to do something new, to persevere with cheery pioneer spirit whatever fate befell her and her husband. That isn’t to say she saw the world through delusional rose-colored glasses. Instead, she simply chose to see each situation for what it could be — accompanied by hard work and a little upbeat spirit. Others make the opposite choice. Remember: There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.”

SO… before I learned my diagnosis, I was suffering with TMJ. I perceived my jaw was offset, and my teeth didn’t line up. It was painful and painfully slow eating. I solicited help from a Cranial Massage Therapist. It helped short term, but the offset and pain returned. Three adjustments… same result.

At the time, I salivated so profusely, I’d resorted to sleeping with a cloth in my mouth, to wick off the moisture, so my attemting to swallow didn’t keep me from sleeping. Additionally, the corners of my mouth had developed sores.

After receiving the diagnosis, I made an inquiry at a health food store, asking what, if any, recommendations they could make for someone with a Parkinson’s diagnosis. They said Hemp CBD oil. I resisted at first, but went back and made a purchase. Then John & I took our month long roadtrip for our 50th anniversary.

FIRST, I noticed the sores at the corners of my mouth had cleared up… which was doubly impressive, going from a humid climate to dry arrid Utah. I wondered if I took something like coconut oil, I would have the same results?

NEXT, I realized my jaw had realigned, my TMJ pain was gone and I, as a result, was able to eat more quickly. I attributed the change to the CBD oil… but also wondered … perhaps the jaw had relaxed and normalized as a result of the progression of the disease?

ADDITIONALLY, I felt like my sleep was more restful when I used the oil. My primary care doctor told me, his recommendation was to obtain a state card so I could obtain the oil from a licensed facility, where the quality and purity were guaranteed. I followed his recommendation, and have been pleasantly surprised… that the Oil I get now is no more expensive than the oil from the health food store.

The TMJ has not returned… the sores at the corner of my mouth have not returned. And now, my sloth like eating speed is related to how I handle the fork and chew… but not related to pain.

The salivating and droolong have not improved, but from the dentist’s point of view, extra saliva protects my teeth from decay. Hey, we count our blessings as we recognize them.

So… like Laura Ingles Wilder… I try to optimistically view my challenge
as an adventure. Each symptom provides a chance to try something new, to persevere with cheery pioneer spirit whatever fate befalls us. I say ‘us’, because John is such a trooper, ever mindful of my frailities, and ready to accept additional responsibilities.

Already, he prepares my breakfast, while I begin my morning exercise routine. We simply choose to see each situation for what it could be — accompanied by hard work and a little upbeat spirit.