Importance of the TMJ to Horses' Well-being

Importance of the TMJ to Horses' Well-being

Tuesday 6th June 2017

An often overlooked area that can be causing horses pain and dysfunction is the upper cervical spine, temperomandibular joint (TMJ) and facial musculature.

These areas can be stressed and damaged by ill-fitting or ill-used tack, training aids or even head collars, poor riding technique and dental imbalances. A network of superficial but important nerves runs over the face making it vulnerable to pressure damage and pain.

Recent research is also linking TMJ pain to hind limb lameness and dysfunction.

The three images show Echo being assessed for tension/comfort in the complex of muscles inserting into the poll, including splenius and the brachiocephalicus muscle. The temporalis muscle and auricular muscles and ligaments of the jaw joint (TMJ) and passive assessment of the YES (Skull and first vertebra) and NO (First and second cervical vertebra) joints in the upper cervical spine are part of his regular Physio checks.

Pic 1: temporalis and auricular mms plus 0/c1 (ears)
Pic 2: TMJ and 0/c1 (jaw)
Pic 3: yes and no movement (headcollar)