Numerous studies have shown acupuncture can reduce pain and inflammation caused by TMJ. Read more below on the top 3 facts you need to know about TMJ to reduce your pain for good!
What you need to know about Temporomandibular (TMJ) Disorders
Temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders refers to a group of conditions that affect the joints of the jaw or the temporomandibular joints. These joints are located bilaterally on the face, in front of the ears and connecting the jaw bone to the skull. These joints are complicated, allowing for movement in multiple directions.
For some, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) can be caused by trauma such as a car accident or a hit to the face. But for most, these issues seem to appear out of nowhere. Many people do things on a daily basis or have underlying conditions that can cause or contribute to the development of temporomandibular disorders. Things like teeth grinding, gum chewing, excessive stress, malocclusion of teeth and even arthritis can all be reasons that TMD occurs. The most common symptoms of TMD include pain, headaches, muffled hearing, earaches, pain when chewing, dental pain, chipped or worn teeth, jaw clicking, dizziness, neck pain and difficulty moving the jaw.
Standard treatments for TMJ
Conventional treatments for TMD vary from eating soft foods to taking over-the-counter pain medications and using hot or cold packs. Often, mouth guards and physical therapy are also prescribed. Sometimes specific dental work may also be suggested. And as a last resort, steroid injections and jaw surgery may be used.
Unfortunately, the success of these treatments is limited.
But the good news…
We can help!
Here are the top 3 facts you need to know about TMJ
Traditional Chinese Medicine can be a great alternative. Acupuncture, stress management, and soft-tissue release can be especially beneficial for people with TMD.
1. Acupuncture can help
Numerous studies have shown acupuncture can reduce pain and inflammation caused by TMJ. Acupuncture reduces the sensation of pain by directly stimulating the nerves, which changes the signaling to the brain. Acupuncture stimulates the release of neurotransmitters and endorphins in the body. These are naturally occurring substances that help decrease and block pain perception by the brain.
Placing acupuncture needles directly into the belly of the jaw muscle can also elicit a muscle twitch. This muscle twitch can then release the built up tension throughout the muscle, allowing it to reset. When the muscle tension is released, so too is the pain and tightness. By adding in electroacupuncture, the muscle is then reminded of how it is supposed to act.
2. Calm the stress, calm the TMJ
Acupuncture is also proven to help reduce stress that is often associated with painful disorders like those with jaw pain. When people feel stressed, the brain releases a hormone called cortisol. Too much cortisol can alter the way the brain perceives pain, and it can also cause involuntary muscle spasms in the jaw muscles. This can lead to excessive pain in the temporomandibular joints. In addition to acupuncture, practicing daily meditation and progressive muscle relaxation is key to keep the muscles loose. A good APP is Headspace or Calm, found in the APP store for free guided meditations.
3. Release the tension, literally
One of the main causes of pain with temporomandibular pain is due to tight muscles. Addressing this cause can be a quick release of the tension and lead to more alignment in the jaw. A quick at-home treatment is to slowly apply pressure with your fingers along the jaw to release the tense muscles.
If you or somebody you love is facing the pain of TMD, consider utilizing acupuncture and the other modalities of TCM to treat the issue. It is a much safer alternative, it can save a lot of money and these modalities offer improved overall health.
If you suffer from chronic pain, please give our office a call today, (425) 686-4498 to see how we can help!
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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Bothell, WA at her practice Starting Point Acupuncture. She is a pain specialist, seeing people who suffer from chronic pain, migraines, as well as digestive issues. Offering pain relief injections, acupuncture, facial rejuvenation, and nutrition consults. Most insurances accepted. Dr. Ellie Heintze is also the author of the book, A Starting Point Guide to Going Gluten-Free on Amazon.
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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc
- Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
- Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
- Master’s Degree in Chemistry
Northern Arizona University
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