How Acupuncture Treats Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders

👉🏻 Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMJ, has become an increasingly common complaint in acupuncture clinics. Working as an acupuncturist, I have seen that TMJ often has a mental-emotional stress component. Often, my patients report elevated pain levels and clenching when stress levels increase.

📌 What causes TMJ? 

👉🏻 TMJ can be caused by muscle tension (teeth grinding or bruxism), anatomical problems, and injury. Sometimes, there may be a psychological component from someone clenching their jaw during emotional tension, intense determination, or desperation. Most people are unaware these muscles can remain contracted for long periods. Over time and repetition, the symptoms include severe headaches, neck/shoulder pain, earaches or dizziness to pain whilst chewing or opening your mouth.

📌 Treatment of TMJ with Acupuncture

👉🏻 As a holistic form of medicine, TCM works to relieve jaw pain and get to the root of the problem. In TCM theory, TMJ is often related to different “obstruction” syndrome types. Physical and emotional stress and trauma can cause Qi stagnation or blood stagnation. Pathogenic forces like cold, heat, wind and dampness can cause painful obstruction or blockages of energy and blood in some body regions. People suffering from TMJ do not necessarily only have dental pain or myofascial pain, a clicking jaw, or limited movement. They may also be experiencing a variety of other symptoms that are related. 

Acupuncture can treat – stress, muscle tension, system imbalances, and pain in the jaw area, all in one treatment. The benefit for the patient is the convenience and potential for resolving several related issues within the treatment. 

❤️ In working with TMJ patients, we also look at the whole picture, including lifestyle and environmental changes that may support further healing. Understanding the source of a problem is critical to preventing recurrence. Supportive solutions that complement acupuncture treatments include possible dietary adjustments and wearing a mouth night guard or bite plates to help correct the misalignment. Stress reduction, relaxation techniques, and jaw stretching exercises also help re-educate and release tension in the muscles surrounding the joint. 

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