Acupuncture and TMJ
TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disease, is a common problem with few effective remedies in Western Medicine. However, acupuncture and herbal medicine can work wonders to relieve TMJ and jaw pain.
What is the temporomandibular joint?
The temporomandibular joint is at the point where your lower jaw (mandible) has a connection with your skull (the temporal bone). This is a hinge joint. TMJ is right in front of and just above the ear. The surrounding muscles and this joint are responsible for the opening and closing of the mouth when talking, yawning, and chewing. The muscles can pull on the jaw and cause a change in alignment of the joint. The muscles have a serious bearing on the health and movement of the jaw.
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD), or temporomandibular disorders (TMJ) occurs when the jaw joint and the surrounding muscles that control the opening and closing of the mouth are tight or imbalanced. Other potential issues are neck and shoulder muscle tension, teeth clenching, whiplash and neck injury, arthritis in the temporomandibular joint, or general stress.
What are the symptoms of TMD/TMJD?
Discomfort and pain can range from mild to severe and can last for years if care is not taken. TMD are more frequent in women and those between the ages of 20 and 40. TMJD can occur on both sides of the face.
Other common symptoms are:
• Reduction in the ability to open the mouth
• Sticking in the jaw which affects both the open and closed position.
• A popping, clicking, or a grinding sounds that occurs in the jaw joint trying to open the mouth or close it.
• Pain while chewing
• Facial swelling
How acupuncture treats TMJ disorders and jaw pain
Acupuncture may be a solution if you are looking for an alternative to night guards or pain medication.
Three different strategies are used in acupuncture when working with TMJ, jaw tension, and pain.
This approach directly reduces the inflammation, tension, and misalignment that occur in the joint itself. Local acupuncture points are capable of relieving muscle spasms, decreasing tightness, pain, and swelling. This process allows for free movement of the jaw so that natural alignment can take place and the joint can work smoothly.
Acupuncture explores the fact that a large number of health issues are as a result of blockages in the channels—also known as meridians—of energy flow in the body. Opening up these meridians as a whole can be achieved by needling certain points on the body and using moxibustion to enable the free flow of energy through the jaw area.
Addressing stress and tension:
It is natural to clench your jaw when passing through stress, anger, and frustration. The chance of doing this is usually high at night when there is no control over the expression of stress in the body.
Acupuncture naturally reduces inflammation, releases serotonin and other hormones to relax the body, relieving it of tension.
The importance of acupuncture in the treatment of TMJ cannot be overemphasized; it has been proven quite efficient and safe with little to no side effects.
Pearl Acupuncture Can Help
Pearl Chang Russell practices as a licensed acupuncturist in Richardson, just outside of Dallas, Texas and holds a Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Pearl’s source of inspiration is her grandmother, whose wealth of knowledge and experience spans more than 50 years in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.