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questions re TMJ and parachute test

Hi.  I have been to my dentist for sensitive teeth and am getting a nighttime occlusion splint to prevent teeth grinding/clenching.  I also have a sore jaw, mild neck pain and headaches, occasional blocked ears (As if they need to pop).  The dentist did this thing called a "parachute test" thats supposed to test reflexes or something and thought i seemed weak. I think it was to test if my clenching was forcing the mandibular up into the cranium and causing nerve damage but I cant find any info on the test. could it perhaps explain the sore shoulders i have and the mild tingling in my wrists and hands?
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782045 tn?1238193325
Dear Patient
Parachute testing????? I am not familiar with that either. A night time occlusion splint or a "nightguard" is only there to protect your teeth. It will not stop you from grinding and clenching. It is a splint based on an arbitrary position determined by the lab after it has received the impressions from your dentist. In many instances it exacerbate the symptoms that are associated with TMD (temporomandibular dysfunction). I would highly recommend you find a Neuromuscular dentist at www.top3dentist.com .
Now as far as the sore shoulders and tingling in wrists and hands. Two different things. Just an add on, these symptoms could be stemming from other medical conditions and/or postural conditions too, so please have an evaluation by an MD. Lets start with shoulders: patients who have TMD dysfunction caused by a misaligned bite will frequently also have forward head position. The average head weighs about 15-17lb's. The way I explain it to my patients: imagine a 17lb bowling ball sitting on a broom stick and held in balance by the pull of rubber bands (your cervical and shoulder muscles). Now imagine you tilt this bowling ball in any direction, what is happening to the surrounding rubber bands.....righ some get pulled the others become foreshortened. Same thing is happening in your neck and shoulder areas. Studies have shown that if the skull rotates about 2" foreward of its balanced position it will place a strain equaling to 10"lb's on the cervical/shoulder muscles.
Remember I mentioned the other rubber bands become foreshortened. There are a group of three pairs of muscles in the lateral neck, namely the scalenus anterior, scalenus medius, and scalenus posterior. In a forward head posture those muscles become foreshortened. The scalene muscles have an important relationship to other structures in the neck. The brachial plexus (nerves), which is responsible for cutaneous and muscular innervation of the entire upper limb, passes between the anterior and middle scalenes. A foreshortening in those muscles causes an impingement on the plexus, hence causing sensation of tingling and numbness.
Hope this answers your questions...good health
Sincerely Dr. Mehregan
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Avatar universal
First, the parachute test was developed by John Beck, MD, an orthopedic surgeon from the southern California region.  It is one of nearly 200 tests he has for the musculo-skeletal system. It is the one most specific for the TMjoint dysfunction.  I've had the opportunity to hear Dr Beck and watch him demonstrate his testing of the autonomic reflexes at several American Academy of Craniofacial Pain seminars, one of them for two days. They are based on his work in neuro-embryology and neuro-rehabilitation.   I use some of these tests myself,  They are similar, I believe to Applied Kinesiology used by many Chiropractors (and I use some of these as well).  These tests are helpful in comfirning a diagnosis based on thorough examination that should/would include medical history, history of sympotms,  physical examination, imaging as indicated, and whatever other tests the Dr feels can help him determine the dysfunction producing the patients symptoms.  
I don't think you're exam and consultation where complete if you don't have a good understanding  of it and are asking questions in this forum.  Please go back and ask more questions--it's the most important part of your treatment in my opinion.  
Additional comments to Dr. Mehregan's excellent response are: Cervical vertebra #5 will be slightly displaced from a disc discplacement (chronic) of the TMJ--I see it routinely on imaging. C5 is part of the brachial plexus.  The other comment is that the TMJ disc displacemnt also leads to ear sympoms.  
Neuromuscular dentistry is a good technique, but not a cure all.  I have lots of initials behind my name, which has lead me to not put all my eggs in one basket, and neither should the patients.  Treatment must always be directed by diagnosis, not treatment techniques.  TMJDoc
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