Does Acupuncture help TMJ?

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Never fear, acupuncture is here and you can smile again without it hurting. :) 

Acupuncture and TMJ

What is TMJ?

TMJ is short for temporalmandibular joint dysfunction. It's literally a mouthful. 

Signs and symptoms of TMJ are:

Clicking and popping of the jaw

Ear aches

Headaches

Facial pain

A feeling of the jaw unhinging and popping back in again

I actually have TMJ thanks to a crappy orthodontist I had as a kid. Add on the stress of being an adult and voila I have TMJ. I joke around that I can unhinge my jaw like a snake, but it's actually not funny and quite frankly scares the crap out of me when my jaw locks when I try to yawn. So, trust me, I get the concern about this when it happens to you. 

Enter acupuncture. 

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TMJ is actually a pretty easy fix as it's caused by tightness in the muscles we use to chew. The cause is almost always stress, some of us are just natural jaw clenchers especially in our sleep.  

The red areas are usually where you'll feel pain or discomfort when you have knots in those muscles (which is what the X marks are). As you can see, sometimes you'll get an ear ache or tooth aches which when examined by your doctor or dentist, turns up nothing. That's because the knots in your jaw muscles are causing the ear or tooth ache. This is also why using a mouth guard isn't helpful in my opinion. I just don't see how biting down on something is going to provide any sort of release of the jaw, instead it makes it tighter and tighter. 

I treat TMJ a lot in my practice and get acupuncture for it myself. It's a godsend.  It requires releasing muscles of the jaw, neck and sometimes scalp along with points to reduce stress overall. I highly recommend developing some sort of breathing/meditation practice to help you decompress daily. 

Here's what one of my facial clients (who also books acupuncture along with her facial appointment) has to say:

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If you're ready to get relief from your TMJ pain schedule here: