Pain and/or reduced movement in the major temporomandibular joint. This is located by the ear and joins the mandibular (jaw bone) to the skull. You can easily be feel it when you clench your teeth together and the muscle bulges out slightly.
* Oversensitivity of the jaw muscles, this is most associated with jaw clenching at night which can be due to stress and anxiety
* Increased sensitivity to pain (its not known why this happens!)
* Wear and tear to the joint, which could be caused by arthritis, either rheumatoid or osteoarthritis
* Injury or blow to the jaw
* Misaligned jaw or dental problems
* Resting, gentle massage and the use of bite guards used at night can help to relieve the cycle of oversensitive muscles
* Anti-inflammatory painkillers
* Physiotherapy – the correct exercises and use of ultrasound can be helpful
* Steroid Injections or surgery as a last resort could be offered in severe cases
Please note it is important to visit your dental professional to ensure there are no contributory physical factors with your jaw or teeth.
What’s the alternative?
First up, acupuncture doesn’t claim to treat certain conditions, we do not diagnose or cure!
But what we can do is look at ALL of the factors in your life and the resulting symptoms that may be contributing to a particular condition. This way acupuncture gets to the root cause and we are able to offer relief.
In Chinese Medicine the body is seen very differently, and the systems within it are credited with different attributes and functions to those in Western Medicine. The focus is on the balance and harmony of these systems. Where we have imbalance we have ‘dis-ease’. Acupuncture looks to balance those areas to bring relief from pain and discomfort.
In the case of TMJ there are several patterns which can possibly contribute to imbalance, these include mainly Qi and/or Blood deficiencies in the Liver, Spleen and Kidney systems*
The Liver stores the Blood and rules the Tendons, the Spleen dominates the limbs and rules the Muscles and the Kidneys rule the Bones. When there are deficiencies in one or more of these systems symptoms can occur.
Emotions play a huge part in the pathology of many conditions both in Western and Eastern medicine. Over-worrying and stress can cause excess in the Liver, resulting in irritability and anger. Excessive brooding, worrying and concentrating, weakens the Spleen. Fear and anxiety depletes the Kidneys and can also lead to insomnia, tinnitus lower back pain etc
Acupuncture can balance out these deficiencies and excesses, to give relief to a condition which can become chronic and difficult to treat with Western medicine.