Upper Cervical Therapy
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Gnashing of teeth

The upper-cervical asymmetry causes a fundamental disturbance of the atlas loop mechanism: Because of the left posterior digastric muscle pressure-dependent position of the atlas, a movement and rotation-dependent blood-flow reduction within the vertebral arteries is created: When one gets into the deep sleep phase, the upper cervical muscles relax, but the left posterior digastric muscle does not so in the very same degree. Therefore, on the left side, the atlas slides forwards and upwards according to the digastric pressure resulting in a strain of the left vertebral artery. Thus, a sub-ischemic situation arises in the cerebellum; sleep quality decreases. The unconscious, mainly left-lateral bruxism causes an increase in muscle tone of the upper cervical muscles, which draws the atlas back again and temporarily enhances perfusion. Then sleep continues. Accordingly, bruxism has the physiological sense to secure sleep by way of increasing the tone of the upper-cervicals muscles and thus increasing blood flow. Thereby, abrasion of the teeth, enamel cracks and longitudinal fractures of teeth ensues by grinding and clenching and subsequently loosening of teeth (periodontal disease) and tooth loss. At first, masseter and temporal muscle hypertrophy develops; lateron, these muscles become hypotrophic: The muscular hyperactivity leads to degradation products (lactic acid, phosphoric acid, creatine, etc.) and a high oxygen debt in the damaged muscle, which ultimately causes muscle necrosis (myogelosis). Thus, on the left side, the phenomenon of sunken temples (Musc. temporalis) and cheeks (Musc. masseter) emerges.

The upper cervical therapy relieves the upper cervical muscles of the need of increasing muscle tone to secure sleep. The organism gradually learns to refrain from this reflex. In some cases, it has been reported that bruxism had disappeared after therapy, which was noticed at the no more painful jaw muscles after waking.


One female patient (* 1957) was treated on 06/06/2008. Severe bruxism with head and back pains was found. Medical history as follows: 

Pain for years in left neck and shoulder, TMJ compression, lateral displacement of the mandible with crack, bruxism. splint treatment, physiotherapy, manual therapy. Exercises helped only partially. Left-sided suboccipital pain, pain in left shoulder and shoulder blade. 

She described her symptoms as follows: 

I have had pain for years on the left side, but only on the left side, and that depends apparently on the temporomandibular joint, because, whenever I open my mouth wide, then knacking is pretty strong. The dentist says that I absolutely must do something, or, at some point in time, my mouth will remain open. I then got a splint because, apparently, I've been crunching during the night. The splint has helped minimally. Sometimes, I had the feeling that it helped, and then again I had the feeling that it did not help. (...) If I always sticked to treatments and always did something (different therapies), then I have no problem, but I always feel it. But as soon as I make no more effortd, pain comes back. The cause is not being addressed, only the symptoms. There is a cracking, if I opened my mouth wide, which is becoming worse during the day. This is also influenced by my actual physical condition (colds, fatigue, stress).

Top left: ". From here the pain starts (shows the pit behind the left mastoid) From here I have a feeling that the pain always comes from the pit.". Top right: "And it does hurt much here, then it pulls right up here to the top of the head." Bottom left: "The muscles here (points along the shoulder blade lifter muscle) hurts" Bottom right: "... and then up under the shoulder blade. But this is only on the left side! On the right side, there ist nothing."

The exclusiveness, with which the patient developed  the symptoms on the left side, is probably due to upper cervical asymmetry : She describes exactly how, in times of worsened condition, upper cervical asymmetry exacerbates and that then the digastric pressure, which is usually subliminally noticeable, is becoming very painful. The pressure spreads upwards towards the head  and downwards towards the shoulder blade. Therefore, the gnashing of teeth is probably the result of long term aggravated upper cervical asymmetry. The immediate effect of treatment (only digastric muscle rearrangement) was commented as follows: 

Pleasant, (moves head to left and right), it is softer (checking further), I can feel that the muscles are no more tender (checks flexion and extension), it is more agreable, (checks head movements further) somehow there is a difference between right and left, everything is easier (checks mouth opening), knacking  is the same as before. I did not do that for a long time, because I didn't dare (verifies mouth opening). Overall, I feel that it is a bit easier is, it works like a clockwork. 

The patient first noticed a general relief. Finally (after muscle stimulation), she said the following: Pleasantly relaxed, liberating, I have thoroughly enjoyed it. In relation to the massage of the TMJ: It was very helpfull, especially near the ear, I could have had that for an hour.