Jaw pain and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain are both conditions that I see more frequently in clinic than I ever expected. Fortunately, acupuncture for TMJ pain is a very effective treatment helping to reduce the pain, inflammation and accompanying stress.
Do I Have TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder is just one cause of jaw pain, affecting the joint between the jaw and the skull. The most common symptoms include:
- Pain in the jaw, ear or temple
- Pain that is worse when you use your jaw
- Difficulty opening the mouth fully
- Popping, clicking or grinding when you use your jaw
- Your jaw locking with use
- Headaches, especially around the temples
What Are The Causes of Jaw/TMJ Pain?
This condition is frequently associated with:
- Teeth grinding (or bruxism)
- An overbite or underbite
- Wear and tear
- Emotional stress
These factors can lead to inflammation in the jaw, causing pain, swelling and stiffness.
Other possible causes of jaw pain include dental problems, nerve problems or arthritis. Some chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, MS, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease or lupus cans also cause jaw pain and you should make sure you have a proper check up with your doctor if you suspect any of these conditions.
A Chinese Medicine Explanation:
According to acupuncture theory, many causes of pain are caused by something referred to as “stagnation.”
QI and Blood are two vital substances in Chinese medicine and need to flow freely. Free flow means no pain.
When the flow is disrupted, either by sudden injury, overuse or emotional strain for example, pain results.
You may often hear an acupuncturist refer to this “stagnation,” sometimes in terms of physical symptoms, sometimes emotional and oftentimes both!
Acupuncture for TMJ Pain
Acupuncture benefits jaw pain and TMJ disorder in several ways. The needles work to remove local stagnation and improve the circulation of Qi and Blood which relieves symptoms such as stiffness and locking.
A more Western explanation is that acupuncture can provide relief from jaw pain by:
- reducing inflammation
- releasing endorphins, our natural painkillers
- improving blood flow
- setting up a local healing response
Acupuncture is also an extremely relaxing treatment. Therefore, if you suffer from stress, it can help you to unwind at the end of a busy day. When your mind relaxes, so does your body, allowing problems such as jaw clenching to simply melt away.
Acupuncture for TMJ pain can be effective but it is important to try and prevent the symptoms recurring.Here a re a few tips:
- visit the dentist regularly
- wear a mouthguard if you’re a grinder
- avoid hard and very chewy foods
- don’t bite your nails
- try and reduce stress
- be aware of your jaw, avoid resting your chin on your hands or yawning too widely.
Are you wanting to try acupuncture for TMJ/jaw pain?
Get in touch with Eileen here, by phone, by email or by booking a free 15 minute phone consultation:
Call on 07773332553