Natural Relief of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ)

What is TMJ?

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) involve pain affecting the muscles used for chewing.  People with TMJ will experience severe jaw pain.  It is the most common reason for jaw pain other than dental reasons, like a toothache.  Sufferers of this type of disorder may also experience tightening and restricted motion of these muscles. 

If you’ve ever noticed a clicking sound when you chew – you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ.  It can also mimic the feelings of tooth pain, cause headaches and ringing in the ears and dizziness.  Surprisingly, a large number of the adult population is affected by this – anywhere between 20-30% of us, usually those between the ages of 20 and 40.  It is more common for women to suffer from this than men.  One of the most common causes for this type of pain is car accidents or other trauma.  The symptoms can appear immediately after the trauma, or they can take years to become noticeable.      

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care

Upper Cervical Chiropractic is a specific speciality of chiropractic which puts its emphasis on the atlanto-occipital joint in the upper spine.  This division of chiropractic has been in practice since the 1930’s.  It has many positive effects on the alignment of the spine, posture and the symptoms experienced by those who suffer with TMJ.  It is supported by many years of anecdotal and empirical evidence.  The purpose of upper cervical chiropractic for TMJ is to reverse the damage done by the trauma that caused it.   

How Does it Work?

An upper cervical chiropractor corrects posture and alignment of the head, neck and spine, which can relieve painful symptoms of many disorders, including TMJ. Upper cervical chiropractic is safe, precise and gentle.   When your muscles and bones are pulling evenly they each carry the weight and perform the functions they were meant to do, so they are not overly taxed or burdened with tasks and weights they were not meant to carry. 

How To Get Started


Schedule a consultation with an upper cervical chiropractor in your area. To find a doctor in your area go to or if you are in the San Diego, California area to schedule your NUCCA evaluation, click here.

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Dr. Dan Spinato of the San Diego Integrative Spine Center in San Diego, California is a Rancho Penasquitos Chiropractor and an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Over the past 30 years, Dr. Spinato has helped many people find natural relief in San Diego, California. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley, Poway, Scripps Ranch and Rancho Bernardo. He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraine headaches, chronic neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, allergy and sinus problems and temporomandibular joint disorders. More information can be found on his website at

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NUCCA Chiropractic Care

What is NUCCA
The National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) is an organization of Doctors of Chiropractic dedicated to patient care, education and research.

Spinal health care using the NUCCA procedures focuses on detecting and correcting a small misalignment in the upper neck area. Gentle, non-invasive adjustments don’t require any turning, twisting or popping.

Your upper cervical spine (neck) area influences all areas of your body. Injury or chronic misalignments can cause headaches, migraines, neck pain, low back pain, weakness and more.

The NUCCA technique is currently offered by less than 1% of all the Doctors of Chiropractic.

Before the NUCCA procedure can be performed, I will sit down with you and discuss your history and symptoms. If I determine that NUCCA can help, a thorough examination and x-rays will be done. A complete report of your findings and treatment options will be discussed. 

First adjustment
Precision x-rays are taken of the spine before any treatment begins. The adjustment is performed with the patient lying on their side and the doctor applying a very light pressure behind the earlobe. A full demonstration can be seen on the video above.

The NUCCA procedure can be summed up with 5 major distinctions as compared to traditional Chiropractic:

  • Gentle adjustment to the neck with no turning, twisting or popping.
  • Precision x-rays to measure before and after corrections.
  • Total body posture and balance improvement
  • Greater stability to the spine
  • Hold adjustments longer with fewer visits

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