Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, known more commonly as TMJ, is a disorder affecting the structure connecting the jaw to the side of the skull. Most people have experienced a level of this at some point in their lives, wincing from the pain suddenly radiating through their face, jaw, and neck. Chewing, yawning, and even smiling are suddenly impossible, the jaw becomes stiff and begins to click painfully, and the mouth can become stuck in an open or closed position. .
In some cases, TMJ can even affect the way the upper and lower teeth fit together. For most people, this condition is temporary, disappearing on its own after a few days. For others, TMJ is a chronic condition, causing constant pain and discomfort, and negatively impacting their quality of life.
TMJ can be triggered by a variety of things. Some common causes include:
- Teeth grinding
- Excessive gum chewing
- Trauma to the jaw
Whether you’re suffering from TMJ for a few days, or for weeks on end, relief is the number one priority. While over-the-counter medications and, in extreme cases, oral surgery can help, alternative treatments for TMJ such as acupuncture can provide less invasive relief with little to no side effects.
In a Swedish study published in 2008, scientists found that the majority of patients who received acupuncture treatments for TMJ experienced improvement in their health that endured for decades – they were still reaping the benefits as much as twenty years later. When treating TMJ, acupuncturists will insert needles around the ear and jaw, which may seem obvious. Less obvious are the areas near the elbows, knees and big toes. When blockages occur in these areas, the jaw is affected. For Qi to flow through unobstructed through the body, all pertinent areas must be addressed in a holistic manner, not just the location of the symptoms, as Western medicine might have you believe.
If you’ve been experiencing TMJ symptoms, schedule an acupuncture appointment with Acupuncture Associates today. You’ll be smiling again in no time!