Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder involves one of the most complex joints in the body, which connects the upper and lower jaws. Causative factors may be physical in nature, such as past injuries to the joint, improper alignment of the jaw and teeth, neuromuscular disorders, overuse from excessive chewing, or may have an emotional component, such as habitual clenching or grinding of teeth, especially with stress and during sleep.
TMJ symptoms mostly consist of pain and limited range of motion that results in difficulty chewing, but other symptoms include locking, popping, clicking, or sudden misalignment of teeth. When untreated for a long time, it can even lead to radiating pain to the face, neck, and shoulder, or headaches, dizziness, earaches, and difficulty hearing.
Current pharmaceutical treatments include analgesics, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and local injections of corticosteroids. Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with these treatment options or may even replace these as the main therapy to limit side effects of the medication. In addition to providing symptomatic pain relief, acupuncture can help relax the contracted muscles to rebalance the jaw and to help calm the mind and body to better handle stress.
If you have any of the above TMJ symptoms and would like to know if acupuncture can help you, contact us today for a consultation or appointment.