TMJ - Temporo Mandibular Joint

Dear Mukunda:

I found the time today to look at this Q&A service that you are so kindly providing. Perhaps you can help me. In January 2002 I was suddenly struck with TMJ soreness in my right jaw. I am 58 years old and have never had this kind of problem before. I have regular treatments with an acupuncturist, a physical therapist, a chiropractor and a deep tissue massage therapist. I am somewhat better, but not much. The muscles in my jaw are in spasm almost constantly. Even muscle relaxants and Motrin 800 do not give me relief. I feel very sore in the morning when I awake. The pain is like a dead weight in my jaw that does not move until after I have lifted my head. I have worn a specially fitted mouth guard most faithfully for the past seven months … it does not seem to help. I do not seem to grind my teeth but rather to clench them. My jaw is misaligned to the right; my bite is off, my mouth opens to only 33 millimeters (43 might be ideal for me, given the opening of my daughters mouth). I have a small hydraulic pump with which to exercise/stretch my mouth daily 2 to 4 times. I have difficulty eating/chewing/biting food and the sound of my voice/speech has changed. It is a distressing syndrome/affliction and yet I am trying to welcome its presence in my life as a sign. I feel that my throat chakra is involved in terms of self-expression and will.
I am working on developing a regular meditation practice because deep down I believe it will help me. Are there any asanas or pranayama practices that you think might help me? I will look forward in gratitude for any help you might offer. Blessings to you.

While I do think you might have a sacroiliac imbalance and occipital reflex on the physical side of this difficulty, I feel that the path to pursue is meditation and spiritual assistance. For the physical side you can consult with a cranial sacral practitioner such as Jan Larivee - she is in Boston area you can contact her at I find that asanas rarely can help with this. So for meditation I would recommend that you find a teacher one who is immersed in the spirit of practice, not the technique. The person ideally will be smiling a lot and very happy. There are lists of Boston area meditation groups I can recommend. It is sent as an attachment to this reply (readers in the Boston area can also ask for that list). You might seek out John Schlorholtz on Aurobindo center as a possibility.

can you give a brief decription of these conditions and how the relate to a TMJ disorder


The accurate assessment of the sacroiliac joint is becoming more and more invaluable to me. I see that in about 80% of the clients i assess there is a dysfunction of its normal motion. That is upon lifting the thigh into hip flexion the sacroiliac joint will move upwards on the side flexing. When this does not occur, either due to muscular imbalance or the joint being stiff or frozen the paraspinal muscles do not translate the action upward through the spinal column. As the occiput is the origin of many of the paraspinal muscles and the trapezius it is likely that it will also react in addition to the masseter muscles controlling the jaw motions.

  This causes a host of other reactions.  In polarity therapy training i learned "as above so below".  when a TMJ or jaw joint is in dysfuntion there are more joints affected.  One needs to consider all the possibilities.  Events do not occur in isolation.  Whatever happens to any part of us affects the whole.  This is a prime thesis of Structural Yoga Therapy.  Whenever there is an injury or illness specific joints loose some of the normal range of motion and some muscles loose their full capacity to contract and hence we experience stiffness and weakness.  Exactly what changes are made must be assessed by the SYT procedure i teach in my professional training programs.  Once known we can discover what is above that is also changed below.  Invariably i find weak muscles directly below those regions in pain.  We are an amazing piece of work as Shakespeare noted in Hamlet's soliloquoy.  blessings.

thanks M

what specifically is occipital reflex