TMJ and Chinese Medicine Acupuncture
WHAT IS TMJ?
TMJ (temporomandibular syndrome) refers to pain in the temporomandibular (or jaw) joint region with possible swelling, limited range of motion, muscle spasm, earaches, grinding of teeth, facial asymmetry, clicking or popping noises, and , occasionally, ringing in the ears. Common causes of TMJ pain include blows to the jaw, over stretching as a result of dental or surgical procedures, and excessive grinding or clenching of the teeth. Most forms of arthritis can involve the temporomandibular joint, and this joint is involved in more than 50% of cases of rheumatoid arthritis. Up to 25 million Americans experience some form of TMJ, with woman seemingly at greater risk.
HOW DOES WESTERN MEDICINE TREAT TMJ?
The current Western medical treatment of TMJ consists of a combination of dental and medical approaches. These include the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, of soft diet, hot compresses, and oral splints. Permanent dental corrections and removable prostheses may also be recommended. Surgical correction is necessary in 5-10% of patients. When TMJ is primarily related to muscular tension, biofeedback and other management techniques may be recommended.
CAN ACUPUNCTURE & CHINESE MRDICINE TREAT TMJ?
Yes, Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture most definitely can treat TMJ. Not only can acupuncture typically relieve the pain, tension, and discomfort of TMJ within a matter of minutes, we can also help you to understand the disease mechanism that lead to this disorder and what you yourself can do about them. This may mean relaxation and stress reduction, but it may also mean modification in one’s diet.
There are 10 different patterns in Chinese Medicine corresponding to TMJ.
The beauty of Chinese Medicine is that it takes the whole patient into account and prescribes a treatment plan that brings the entire person back to a sense of vibrant and dynamic balance. For instance, most womenís TMJ involves a yin-blood vacuity failing to nourish the sinews (or muscles) of the jaw. In this case, proper diet is extremely important as well as supplementation with Chinese herbs which nourish the blood. Whereas, in other patients, it may be heart-stomach fire exuberance causing the problem. In that case, one will probably have to avoid alcohol, fatty, oily foods, and hot, peppery foods.
CAN ONE COMBINE CHINESE & WESTERN MEDICINES?
Yes again. The combination of oral splints (worn with the mouth at night during sleep) and Acupuncture/Chinese Medicine, often is a very effective combination for the treatment of TMJ. In this case, the oral splints help treat the problem mechanically, while the acupuncture and Chinese herbs seek to redress the internal causes for this condition at their roots.