Have you ever experienced symptoms of a clicking jaw or earaches? Commonly referred to as “TMJ” in reference to the temporomandibular joint, temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are common issues that occur when the jaw joint is misaligned and causes problems such as pain, inflammation, and the inability to move or operate the jaw. Here at Peter Lok Acupuncture, we offer alternative therapy for TMD through acupuncture.
What are the causes of TMD?
There can be a variety of causes for TMD and can arise from problems with the jaw, the muscles near the jaw, or the joint itself. Some common causes for TMD include:
- Injury to the joint, jaw, or muscles along your neck and face
- Grinding or clenching your teeth which puts pressure on the joint
- Movement or dislocation of the soft cushion, or disc, between the joint parts
- Arthritis of the joint
- Stress, which can cause you to tighten facial or jaw muscles
- Tooth/jaw misalignment
Signs & Symptoms
Patients with TMD often experience severe pain and discomfort that can be temporary or chronic. Symptoms depend on the severity and cause of your condition and can show on one side or both. Some of the most common symptoms of TMD include:
- Pain in the face, jaw, or ear area
- Pain or pressure around the ears, face, and behind the eyes
- A clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth
- Dislocation of jaw
- Locked, stiff, or stuck jaw
- Tenderness of jaw muscles
- Limited jaw movement
- Swelling of the face
- Dental occlusion (the way the upper or lower jaw/teeth fit together)
Many of the symptoms of TMD can overlap with other conditions such as tooth decay, gum disease, sinus problems, or arthritis. While we are able to help provide relief of your symptoms, it is important that you seek an official diagnosis from your dentist, orthodontist, or primary care physician to ensure there aren’t any underlying conditions that may need to be addressed.
While there are several treatment options your dentist, orthodontist, or primary care physician might recommend, acupuncture offers a drug-free alternative for pain relief. Some of the most effective acupoints for facial pain include:
The back of the hand
Between the second and third metatarsal on the foot
Above the hyoid bone located in the neck
Though these acupoints are not located in the neck, they have been proven to help relieve orofacial pain, specifically that associated with TMD.
Every case is unique, so we take extra care and customize our treatment plans to best address your needs. If you have any questions about acupuncture for TMD, please contact Lok Acupuncture Clinic, Ltd. today so that we can help.