The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge connecting the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull, allowing the jaw to move so we can talk, chew, and yawn. When we start having problems with the jaw and muscles that control it, it's known as a temporomandibular disorder (TMD). TMD is often erroneously called TMJ, after the joint. TMD can be caused by injury to the area or from teeth grinding or clenching, arthritis, or stress. TMD can cause pain and discomfort lasting briefly or for many years.
Treatment with Acupuncture
Acupuncture can be extremely helpful in relieving pain, tension, and inflammation involved with TMD. Within just a few treatments, many people experience relief from symptoms, while more chronic TMD can take a series of treatments over several weeks. Recently, researchers in the UK studied 70 cases of dental patients that received acupuncture for TMD. Of these patients, 85% benefited from treatments, averaging a reduction of pain intensity of 75%. Instead of simply covering up the symptoms of the disorder, acupuncture seeks to resolve the origin on the problem. With TMD, this may include stress, muscle tension, or injury. In a single treatment, acupuncture will target these issues, as well as the resulting symptoms, e.g., pain, headaches, earaches, and dizziness. If that isn't reason enough to give it a try, acupuncture has the added benefit of stress reduction and immune-boosting. This is just a happy side-effect of the centuries-old, natural Eastern therapy.
When working with TMD patients, acupuncturists may also address lifestyle and environmental changes that can promote further healing. This may include referral to a counselor to work with stress or tension.
Some complementary solutions for TMD include dietary modifications, relaxation techniques, and jaw stretching exercises to re-educate and release tension around the TMJ.
If you or someone you know is searching for relief from TMD, ask your acupuncturist for help. Take action against TMD and its symptoms today with Chinese Medicine.