July Newsletter


 Discovering Wellness

Jaw Breaking News

Are you experiencing neck and jaw pain on a frequent basis? Do you have jaw tension and tightness? You may have TMD. What is TMD? Temporomandibular disorder. It is a misalignment in the TMJ. What is TMJ? Temporomandibular jointwhich is located between the jaw and the skull. It consists of the same cartilage and membranes found in other joints. It’s also susceptible to a variety of disorders, aches and pains. TMD is a condition where the joint becomes inflamed or irritated. It can be extremely painful. The opening and closing of the mouth becomes difficult and a grinding or crunching sound comes from the joint. This pain is caused by things like:• habitual gum chewing or nail biting
• teeth grinding
• dental problems
• injury
• stress
• occupational tasks
• arthritisThese events cause the tendons and muscles in the upper neck and jaw area to displace vertebra in the upper neck or displace the temporal mandibular joint itself.Dr. Howard knows that a balanced body is a healthy body. When TMD disrupts that balance, patients need to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Waiting only delays healing but may also escalate joint degeneration, triggering osteoarthritis.Misalignment of the jaw is just one of the many maladies that can spark TMD. Other causes include misalignment of the teeth (naturally or from dental work) and trauma, such as a car accident or getting hit in the face with a ball.

Things that can cause TMD are; Poor neck posture is a leading cause of TMD. This is because the neck holds up the head so it influences the alignment. Bruxism which is the clenching and grinding of teeth occurs only during sleep. A number of other activities “count” as grinding and clenching, such as biting fingernails, crunching ice, chewing gum or holding a pipe or cigar between the teeth. Research has found that avoiding alcohol, tobacco and caffeine may reduce the occurrence of bruxism. Fluffy pillows disrupt the normal curve of the neck (cervical spine) and encourage TMJ muscles to tighten. That’s why patients with TMD should sleep with a single soft, flat pillow or ask your chiropractor on what type of pillow you should use.  When sleeping on your stomach or your side, puts stress on your jaw. Try to sleep on your back because it allows the joint to relax.

Chiropractors are concerned with not only treating patients until their pain is gone, but also assuring their problems are permanently eliminated. Chiropractic care focuses on the total human body, in the belief that is inter-related with both the environment and individuals’ lifestyles. So don’t wait around for the pain to get worse, call Dr. Howard today to schedule an appointment!!


Backpack Safety

Kids are carrying far too many books in their backpacks these days, and to make matters worse, they’re wearing them improperly as well. What effect do backpacks have on kids’ health both now, and in the future?  Children who wear their backpacks over one shoulder are pulling on one side of the neck.  This causes one shoulder to be higher than the other.  This can start to cause postural problems, headaches and neck pain.  Also, because of the heavy load, kids often bend over pushing their head forward causing more stress on the neck and shoulders, and spine.               Research has come back showing that kids backpacks can be up to 30% of their body weight.  That is pretty heavy and to carry this load several days a week can have some huge affects on the body! Children are suffering from back pain much earlier than previous generations, and the use of overweight backpacks is a contributing factor, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that backpack-related injuries sent more than 7,000 people to the emergency room in 2001 alone. Steps you can take to help your child:

· Limit backpack weight to 10% of your child’s weight (for example, a child weighing 90 pounds should not have a backpack weighing over 9 pounds)

· Buy smaller packs. The bigger the pack, the greater the possibility of filling it to capacity and increasing the overall weight.

· Shoulder straps should be well padded and adjusted so that the bottom of the pack fits close against the lower back.

· A padded waist-support is recommended.

· Backpacks should be worn over both shoulders.


How exactly would carrying a backpack affect a child’s spine? Carrying a heavy load that is distributed unevenly or improperly, day after day, week after week, can indeed cause stress to the spinal column of a growing child. Posture can be greatly affected because children are still very flexible and growing. “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree” is a phrase that often comes to mind when seeing children lugging backpacks around.

If your child is experiencing any pain of discomfort in the shoulders, neck, legs or back. This may be due to vertebral subluxations and spinal disorders. It is important to remember that like many health problems, vertebral subluxations and spinal disorders often go unnoticed and therefore ignored. Because of this, it is especially important to call your Chiropractor. This way, any potential spinal or postural problems can be addressed and corrected before they get worse.  Chiropractors offer spinal checkups for youngsters that include a thorough evaluation for vertebral subluxations and postural analysis. Spinal correction is safe and gentle maneuver with a child.