The Temporal Mandible Joint (TMJ), or main jaw joint, is one of the most complicated joints in the body. Your TMJ can develop a disorder that creates pain in your jaw, face, head, and sometimes neck and shoulders. This disorder is frequently described as TMJ and can also cause the teeth to slowly erode. That’s because, in TMJ, the jaw can become improperly aligned, resulting in worn or chipped teeth. TMJ can be caused by the trauma induced by an accident or severe stress. Men are three times more likely to get the condition than women.
Traditional Chinese medicine relates TMJ to functions of the stomach and an imbalance in the stomach meridians. The stomach meridians run through the jaw area, so when stress or trauma create an energy imbalance, the stomach’s energy stagnates. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine often treat both the physical symptoms of TMJ pain as well as its cause using a multi-step approach. Causes of TMJ vary, but some of the more common include: excessive jaw clenching or teeth grinding (typically during sleep), improperly fitted dentures, frequent chewing of gum or ice, improper teeth alignment, or arthritis in the jaw.
Acupuncture can be administered to restore the balance to those organs that control TMJ. Acupressure, self-applied by a properly trained patient, can also help TMJ. Massaging specific areas of the body related to key meridians can help reduce the headaches, jaw tension and neck pain associated with TMJ. One can start by massaging the Hegu, which is located on the back of each hand where the bones of the thumb and index finger meet. Massaging this area stimulates the energy of the stomach and large intestine.
For more information on the use of Oriental medicine for TMJ, please contact Pacific College at 800-729-0941 or visit www.PacificCollege.edu.