Are you tired of living with constant pain and discomfort caused by TMJ disorder? Traditional methods of treatment, such as pain medication and physical therapy, may only provide temporary relief. However, there is a natural and effective solution that can help relieve TMJ pain from the root cause – acupuncture. This ancient Chinese practice has been used for centuries to treat various ailments, including TMJ disorder. A study that systematically reviewed 19 randomized controlled trials shows that acupuncture is an effective intervention to reduce symptoms associated with TMD.
In this blog, we will discover the benefits of acupuncture for TMJ pain relief and how it can improve your quality of life.
What is a TMJ disorder?
TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorder, or TMD, refers to conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint, surrounding muscles, and nerves. It is estimated that 10 million people in the United States alone experience TMJ disorders, making it a relatively common condition. The severity of TMJ disorders can range from mild discomfort to severe pain, affecting one or both sides of the jaw.
Some common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Jaw pain or tenderness
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Locking of the jaw
- Clicking or popping sounds in the jaw
- Neck pain
What causes TMJ disorder?
While the exact cause of TMJ disorder is not known, several factors can contribute to its development. Let’s dig deeper into the mystery of TMJ disorder and explore its possible causes.
Malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth, is a major cause of TMJ disorder. When the upper and lower teeth do not fit together correctly, it can strain the jaw muscles and joints, leading to TMJ disorder. This is commonly seen in people with overbite, underbite, or crossbite.
- Stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety can cause a lot of tension in the jaw muscles, resulting in clenching or grinding of the teeth. This continuous strain on the jaw joint can eventually lead to TMJ disorder. It is crucial to manage stress and seek counseling if necessary to prevent the development of this condition.
- Injury to the jaw
Trauma or injury to the jaw, such as a blow to the face, can cause damage to the temporomandibular joint and muscles, resulting in TMJ disorder. This type of injury can also cause dislocation of the jaw, which can disrupt the proper functioning of the joint.
Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation and stiffness in the joints. The temporomandibular joint is no exception. Arthritis in the jaw joint can lead to TMJ disorder by causing pain, swelling, and limited mobility.
- Poor posture
Believe it or not, poor posture can also contribute to the development of TMJ disorder. When we slouch or have a forward head posture, it can put added strain on the jaw muscles and joints. This can lead to muscle tension and eventually cause TMJ disorder.
- Dental procedures
Specific dental procedures, such as wisdom tooth extraction or a root canal, can cause trauma to the jaw joint and muscles, leading to TMJ disorder. Before dental treatment, it is essential to inform your dentist about any pre-existing jaw pain or discomfort.
- Hormonal changes
Fluctuation in hormone levels, particularly in women, can also play a role in developing TMJ disorder. The female hormone estrogen has been shown to increase pain sensitivity, which can exacerbate symptoms of TMJ disorder.
There is evidence that suggests a genetic predisposition to TMJ disorder. If someone in your family has or has TMJ disorder, you may have a higher chance of developing it as well. This is because specific jaw and teeth structures can run in families, making individuals more prone to misalignment and, thus, TMJ disorder.
How does acupuncture treat TMJ disorders?
Acupuncture has been a holistic healing technique in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. It involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and promote healing. According to this systematic review study, acupuncture treatment appears to relieve the signs and symptoms of pain in TMJ disorder.
Acupuncture works by targeting the root cause of the issue rather than just treating the symptoms. In the case of TMJ disorders, the root cause is often tension and inflammation in the muscles and joints of the jaw. The body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals, such as endorphins, are released by stimulating specific acupuncture points, helping to relax the muscles and reduce inflammation.
Is acupuncture safe for treating TMJ disorders?
One of the biggest concerns people may have about acupuncture is the safety of the treatment. However, when performed by a licensed and experienced acupuncturist, acupuncture is a safe and non-invasive treatment option. All needles are FDA-approved, disposable and sterile, and the practitioner ensures that all safety and hygiene protocols are followed. This means that there is minimal risk of infection or other complications.
Furthermore, using acupuncture to treat TMJ disorders eliminates the need for potentially harmful painkillers or invasive procedures, making it a safer and more natural option for those seeking relief.
Other benefits of acupuncture for TMJ disorders
Aside from its pain-relieving properties, acupuncture for TMJ disorders can also offer other benefits, including:
- Improved flexibility and range of motion in the jaw
- Reduced stress and tension in the surrounding muscles
- Improved sleep
- Reduced anxiety and depression related to chronic pain
What to expect during an acupuncture session
If you are considering acupuncture in Gainesville, FL, for TMJ disorder, here’s what you can expect during a session:
- Thorough evaluation: Before your first acupuncture session, your acupuncturist will thoroughly evaluate your overall health and specific TMJ symptoms. They will ask about your medical history, lifestyle habits, and any known triggers for your TMJ disorder. This will help them create a personalized treatment plan for you.
- Identification of acupuncture points: Based on your evaluation, your acupuncturist will identify the acupuncture points that need to be stimulated to relieve your TMJ disorder. These points may be on your jaw, face, neck, or other body areas connected to your TMJ symptoms.
- Gentle needle insertion: Once the acupuncture points are identified, your acupuncturist will use thin, sterile needles to insert them gently into the skin. Contrary to popular belief, acupuncture needles are not painful and often cause little to no discomfort when inserted correctly.
- Stimulation of Qi: According to traditional Chinese medicine, the human body comprises meridian energy channels. Acupuncture stimulates the flow of energy, or Qi, along these meridians, promoting balance and healing. In the case of TMJ disorder, acupuncture can help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and improve jaw mobility by targeting specific meridians.
- Relaxation: During your acupuncture session, you will lie comfortably, allowing your body and mind to relax. Many people find acupuncture sessions incredibly calming and even fall asleep during the treatment. This can be especially beneficial for individuals with TMJ disorder, as stress and tension can often contribute to their symptoms.
- Duration and frequency of sessions: An acupuncture session lasts about an hour, depending on the treatment plan created by your acupuncturist. Typically, a series of sessions is recommended for the best results, with weekly or biweekly visits. However, the frequency and duration of sessions can vary for each individual based on their specific needs and response to treatment.
Patient Review with Dr. Guan’s acupuncture treatment
Let’s hear from one of our patients who has experienced the benefits of acupuncture for restless legs syndrome (RLS) and TMJ pain relief.
“I cannot recommend Dr. Guan highly enough. I initially went to her at the recommendation of a friend who thought she might be able to help me with restless leg syndrome. I have suffered from RLS for decades and after years of seeing various specialists and trying a number of medications had never gotten relief.
After my very first session with Dr. Guan the uncomfortable sensations began to ease up, and after just four or five sessions I was able to sleep through the night. Before I went to Dr. Guan I had also sought treatment for several years for TMJ and tinnitus, without success. After just a few sessions with Dr. Guan they are already very much improved. Besides being very knowledgeable and professional Dr. Guan is also friendly and approachable and takes time to discuss treatment and answer questions.”
~ Tricia Young, Google Review
Transform your life with acupuncture
Are you tired of living with constant jaw pain and discomfort caused by TMJ? Say goodbye to expensive medications and invasive procedures and discover the natural relief of acupuncture! At Guan Physical Therapy and Acupuncture, Dr. Guan utilizes world-class acupuncture to alleviate TMJ pain and restore balance to your body.
While it is known for its effectiveness in treating TMJ, other diseases can be treated through this alternative form of medicine, such as:
- Neck pain relief
- Acupuncture for back pain
- Acupuncture for knee pain
- Acupuncture for arthritis
- Acupuncture for neuropathy
- Acupuncture for stress-related problems
- And more!
Don’t let TMJ hold you back any longer – schedule your acupuncture session today and experience the long-term benefits of holistic healing with this proven Chinese medicine in Gainesville, FL. Say yes to a pain-free life!
The material on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.