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From a Simple Click to a Complex Disorder: How TMJ is the Canary in the Coal Mine of Pain Disorders

In the bustling corridors of modern life, amidst our daily chores and responsibilities, a simple jaw click or facial numbness might not seem like cause for concern. Yet, as the saying goes, big things often have small beginnings. That innocuous jaw click could be your body’s early warning system, hinting at underlying complexities that could affect your broader neurological health.

Understanding TMJ

Temporomandibular Joint Disease, commonly known as TMJ or TMD, refers to a condition affecting the joint connecting your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. While it might seem localized, its symptoms — ranging from jaw pain and tightness to more severe sharp pains and even dental pain — can be surprisingly disruptive.

Dr. Blair Lamb’s Insightful Discoveries

Renowned medical practitioner Dr. Blair Lamb offers a fresh perspective on TMJ. For him, the jaw isn’t just a standalone entity; it’s a reflection of our broader neurological health. By examining patients’ jaws, palpating specific muscles, and assessing dystonic changes, Dr. Lamb can predict areas of injury on the corresponding side of the spine, affecting both the upper and lower limbs.

Why is TMJ the Canary in the Coal Mine?

In the olden days, miners used canaries as an early warning system against toxic gases. If the canary showed signs of distress, it signaled to the miners that the environment was unsafe. Similarly, TMJ acts as an early indicator or “canary” for individuals with complex pain and neurological disorders. Persistent TMJ symptoms could be indicative of ongoing issues in the spine, such as neuropathy or myelopathy.

The Road to Recovery

For individuals suffering from complex disorders, understanding and addressing their TMJ symptoms is crucial. As Dr. Lamb emphasizes, for someone to fully recover from conditions like whiplash, they must achieve near or complete resolution of their TMJ symptoms. If these symptoms persist, it suggests that the underlying conditions driving the neck and jaw disorder remain unresolved.


TMJ, often dismissed as just a minor annoyance, can be a profound indicator of our broader neurological health. As we navigate the maze of modern health challenges, recognizing and addressing these early signs is crucial. After all, in the intricate ballet of our body’s systems, every click, every pain, and every numbness is a note in the symphony of our health. It’s time we listened more closely.

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