Dr. Schaeffer's TMJ Publications

Subject: Temporomandibular Joint Disorders.

Title: Chiropractic Treatment of Temporomandibular Disorders Using the Activator Adjusting Instrument: A Prospective Case Series Reference: James w. DeVocht, DC, PhD,a Cynthia R. Long, PhD,b Deborah L. Zeitler, DDS,c and Walter Schaeffer, DCd JMPT 2003; 26(7): 421-425ABSTRACT

Objective: To determine if there was a basis for the treatment of Temporomandibular disease (TMD) using the chiropractic protocol developed by Activator Methods, International.

Setting: Private, solo practice of an Activator advanced proficiency rated chiropractor with 15 years experience.

Design: Prospective case series. 

Participants: Nine adult volunteers with articular TMD recruited from the practice of the treating clinician.

Main Outcome Measures: Change from baseline to follow-up of Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and maximum active mouth opening without pain.

Interventions: Full spine and TMJ adjusting in accordance with the advanced protocol of Activator Methods, International. Participants were typically seen 3 times per week for 2 weeks and according to individual progress thereafter for 6 more weeks. 

Results: Eight participants completed outcome assessments. The median VAS decrease was 45 mm (range 21-71); all experienced improvement. The median increase of mouth opening was 9 mm (range 1-15); all showed improvement.

Conclusion: The results of this prospective case series indicated that the TMD symptoms of these participants improved following a course of treatment using the Activator Methods International protocol. Consequently, further investigation of this type of chiropractic treatment for patients with the articular type of TMD is warranted. (1 Manipulative Physiol Ther 2003;26:421-5) 

​Key Indexing Terms: Temporomandibular Disorder; Temporomandibular Joint; Chiropractic Manipulation 

a Assistant Professor, Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, Davenport, Iowa, and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Iowa Spine Research Center, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. 

​b Associate Professor, Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, has been conducted by ECRI, formerly the Emergency Care Davenport, Iowa. Research Institute, an independent nonprofit health services .

c Professor, Hospital Dentistry Institute, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa.d Private practice of chiropractic, Coralville, Iowa.
SUBJECT: Temporomandibular Joint Disorders.

TITLE: Chiropractic Treatment of Temporomandibular Disorders Using the Activator Adjusting Instrument and Protocol; A Case Report

REFERENCE: DeVocht J, Schaeffer W, and Lawrence D,; Altern Ther Health Med. 2005 Nov-Dec;11(6):70-3.

ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE: To describe the chiropractic management of a 30-year-old woman with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and to discuss the general etiology and management of TMJ conditions.

CLINICAL FEATURES: The patient suffered from daily unremitting jaw pain for 7 years, which was the apparent sequela of a series of 8 root canals on the same tooth. Pain radiated from her TMJ into her shoulder and was accompanied by headache, tinnitus, decreased hearing, and a feeling of congestion in her right ear. Symptoms were not reduced by medication or other dental treatments.

OUTCOME AND INTERVENTION: The patient underwent a series of chiropractic treatments using the instrument and protocol of Activator Methods, International. During the first 5 months, her VAS rating of jaw pain decreased from 60 (on a scale of 0 to 100) to 9, her ability to eat solid foods increased, headache intensity and frequency diminished, and her maximum mouth opening without pain measurement increased from 22 to 28 mm. Overall, 20 months of chiropractic treatment along with 2 concurrent months of massage therapy yielded slow but continual progress that finally resulted in total resolution of all symptoms except some fullness of the right cheek.

​CONCLUSION: Use of the Activator Methods protocol of chiropractic treatment was beneficial for this patient and merits further study in similar cases.Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, Davenport, Iowa, USA.
Title: The Temporomandibular Joint and Related Tests and Adjustments

Reference: DeVocht J, Schaeffer W,; The Activator Method, 2nd ed. Mosby/Elsevier; 2008. Chapter 13:333-355. Fuhr AW, editor.

​Dr. Schaeffer was a contributing author to The Activator Method, 2nd edition by co-authoring a chapter about TMJ (temporomandibular) disorder and the exam and treatment procedures. Dr. James DeVocht, from Palmer Institute of Research, was his co-author. This is the best selling textbook in the chiropractic profession, and was rated 5 stars by Doody’s Review! ​
Title: TMJ/TMD: The "New Extremity"

Reference: Schaeffer W.; The Activator Advantage. 2008 March-April; 2(2):2.

Also Noted: An excerpt from one of Dr. Schaeffer’s previous publications, “Chiropractic Treatment of the Temporomandibular Disorders Using the Activator Adjusting Instrument” was also featured in the issue. This makes the fourth publication of his research studies on TMD.