The temporomandibular joint, most commonly known as the jaw joint is considered to be a vital component in stabilizing the reactive muscle system of the body. This is so as its three (3) primary functions, where it is responsible for are:
- Body centering and maintaining the integrity of the pelvic floor muscles which supports all the pelvic organs and glands, throughout the reactive muscle system.
- Neurological control to the digestive process for proper sequencing
- Acting as an activating mechanism involved in the primary protection of the central nervous system through the muscles of the jaw joint or temporomandibular joint.
With the primary reactive reflex system of Fight/Flight it sets the body’s defence mechanism in motion which serves to protect the brain and CNS. As in the case of an athlete, such as one that competes in American Football, these muscles will stabilise the sutures (joints) of the cranium (skull) by increasing tension in the cranial dura (covering of the brain).
This third function is of great importance as it explains exactly how these athletes can repeatedly take these ferocious blows as the body in a sequential series of actions takes steps in protecting itself. What these muscles inevitably do is stabilize the brain within the skull to protect it from injury, in the event that a blow is received to the head. Essentially the joints movements are restricted and so, the brain becomes encased in a protective shell.
Part of the jaw’s muscle complex, known as the lateral pterygoid muscles which stabilize the inside of the skull, is also responsible for the reactive response in the coccygeal muscles. The coccygeal muscles will then pull on the cocoyx or the tail bone and the apex of the sacrum bringing them forward in motion, this then results in a pull on the spinal dura that increases its tension in a bid to protect the spinal cord by restricting spinal bone movement. This is done as a means of protecting the spine from becoming dislocated and assisting in holding the head on the body, in the event of an injury.
As illustrated above one has to view everything in terms of the body’s primitive defence mechanisms, especially if the outcomes are truly life and death scenarios. As such if any indicator is weak then it has to be made strong and if there is no damage to the tissue there will be an immediate effect. Hence, why NOT practitioners, ultimately seeks to establish a protocol between neural organisation and the integrity of physical structures, as they work together as an integrated system within the body. Thus, if there is a balance within the muscle system and it is working effectively, then the potential for athletic injury has been significantly reduced, as the athletes strength would have increased, hence the sports performance of the athlete would also be at its maximum.
Prevention of Athletic Injuries….The Truth!
Athletic injuries are mainly due to impact with another body or the ground, with the exception of bruises and breaks, they actually occur after the impact has occurred. This is so as the body is utilising its primitive defence mechanism of fight/flight and evokes it compensatory functions at the time. Therefore, it is after the impact has occurred that the athlete will feel the onset of back or neck aches as the balancing or timing is out of sync and the muscle pulls and the domino effect of the system begin. With proper treatment, however, the effects of trauma can be neutralized, re-establishing the proper integration of body functions thereby preventing chronic injuries to the athlete. As such, non-traumatic injuries can be wholly prevented.
How To Optimise Your Sports Performance
A properly organised and integrated nervous system with a properly balanced weight-bearing system can prevent majority of athletic injuries and so, it if of the greatest importance that athletes receive proper and effective treatment in order to mitigate against athletic injuries and optimise sports performance.
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