The jaw is one of the most frequently used areas on the body--and when there is pain there, it can be very challenging. The jaw is a complex collection of muscles, nerves and bones. This blog will focus on the TMJ [temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-man-DIB-u-lur) joint].
TMJ acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. There is one joint on each side of the jaw. TMJ disorders can cause pain in the jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.
The exact cause of a TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis or jaw injury. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth (bruxism), although many people habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders.
Common symptoms associated with TMJ:
- Pain or tenderness of the jaw
- Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
- Aching pain in and around the ear
- Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
- Aching facial pain
- Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
TMJ and TCM
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there are several causes for TMJ; however, there are certain unusual factors that cause TMJ. The one we will focus on in this blog is Qi and blood stagnation.
Qi and blood stagnation could be the culprit if you are experiencing some of the following things, as well as symptoms of TMJ:
- Chronic pain
- Severe, lasting fixed pain
- Worsening pain at night
- Possible spasms
- A somber, white facial complexion
- Scaly skin
- Aversion to wind
- Spontaneous perspiration
- Shortness of breath
- Disinclination to speak
What We Do
At the Point of Health, we do four diagnostic tests to find the root cause of your symptoms. In the case of TMJ caused by Qi and blood stagnation, we want to do things to get your blood and Qi moving. Below are some things you can do at home to help activate your blood and Qi, and alleviate your TMJ symptoms:
- Consume adequate amounts of vegetables that contain vitamin A, B1, B2, C and E
- Avoid all aluminum products, which may be found in antacids, cookware, aluminum foil and certain foods
- Drink steam-distilled water for a chelating effect in the blood that removes unwanted aluminum from the body
- Regularly work out and do deep breathing exercises. These are an excellent way to oxygenate the blood and improve circulation to all parts of the body to facilitate recovery
- Essential oil
- Combine 5 drops of lavender essential oil with 1 tsp. (5 ml) fractionated coconut oil in a small roll-on bottle
- Apply on jaw 1-2 times a day
We hope that these home-based options can help you. If you want further support on your journey to whole body health, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We combine the traditional practices of acupuncture with a unique plan for you and your body that will correct the root cause and stop the symptoms. If you need help with TMJ or any other medical issue, please schedule your appointment with The Point of Health!