TMJ, or Temporomandibular Joint disease, is a painful condition affecting the area where the lower jaw connects to the sides of the skull, and that impairs function and sensation in the face and jaw. TMJ dysfunction involves clicking sounds in the joint, limited movement of the jaw, and face pain that may also spread to the ears, neck, and shoulders. About 33% of the population has TMJ dysfunction, and as many as 75% have some symptoms.
The following signs and symptoms often accompany TMJ dysfunction:
● Pain, particularly in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint
● Limited movement or locking of the jaw
● Radiating pain in the face, neck, or shoulders
● Painful clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
● A sudden, major change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
● Sometimes headaches, earaches, dizziness, and hearing problems.
The following risk factors are associated with TMJ dysfunction:
● High stress levels
● Gender-women seek treatment two times more than men
● Age-people 30 to 50 years of age are most often affected
● Nutritional or metabolic disorders
● Grinding teeth, clenching jaw, Malocclusion (bad bite)
Stress may cause or aggravate TMJ dysfunction. People with dysfunction often clench or grind their teeth at night, which can tire the jaw muscles and lead to pain. Other possible causes include:
● Severe injury, such as a heavy blow, to the jaw or to the temporo-mandibular joint
● A bad bite (malocclusion)
● Orthodontic treatment, such as braces and the use of headgear
● Jaw clicking, which is more likely the sign of a displaced disk
Acupuncture has good results in the treatment of TMJ symptoms. Not only does it helps loosen TMJ muscles, but also addresses the underlying cause, the stress. Therefore, by relieving the stress, acupuncture prevents the TMJ dysfunction from returning as well as treating all of the symptoms induced or aggravated by tension. Special, hair-thin needles are inserted near the TMJ in order to loosen up the muscles and to improve blood circulation in the face in the TMJ area. Next, the relaxation centers will be activated to alleviate the tension and stress. It usually takes 3 to 6 sessions to treat TMJ dysfunction depending on how severe the condition is.
For a complete consultation, please contact us at 905.816.9888