Sherry ChangAcupuncture Studio
TRADITIONAL MEDICINE, MODERN IDEAS
TMJ Disorder- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)
To me, it is one of the oddest disorders people experience. Many people who have this disorder also grind their teeth, bruxism, usually at night during sleep. Why do we grind at teeth at night? Why are we tensing our jaws and trying to chew through our mouths while we are sleeping? Sleeping is the time our body uses to rejuvenate itself, instead, if you suffer from TMJ syndrome, your body and mind is very active. This is a stress response causing a very bad subconscious habit.
What is the Temporomandibular Joint Disorder – TMD
This is the main joint that operates as a hinge, that connects your jaw to the temporal bones in your skull. This allows you to open/close your mouth, chew, yawn and grind. When you have TMD, you grind and clench your jaws, especially at night when you’re sleeping. This chronic disorder leads to myriads of problems. Lock jaw, jaw pain, jaw clocking, tension headaches, migraine headache, tinnitus and the list goes on. You’re just uncomfortable, eating is not enjoyable and in pain.
It is a poorly understood disorder with treatments ranging from mouth guards to botox. So what else can you do?
Acupuncture Treats TMD and Jaw Pain
There are 12 main meridians/channels (think of these as highways running through your body) that flows with Qi and Blood. In the face, 6 out of 12 of these meridians traverse the face and head while some to the shoulders, neck and back and some the front. That’s half! 50% of the body’s energy flow run through the face and head. There’s a lot going on in the face and for good reason. Teeth grinding is stagnant energy in your face. It is stuck in the meridian and can’t flow smoothly, so it sits there, waiting for you to go to sleep and acts up in the middle of the night, then you wake up in the morning with tight neck and shoulders and possibly a tension headache. It really is a terrible disorder and I must say, one that isn’t easy to treat but not impossible.
Usually there are a several meridians that are involved with TMJ disorder, so what we have to do is figure out which of those meridians are involved and address it according to what’s going on with you and your constitution. When you come see me, I will go through a detailed health history with you, take a look at your tongue and pulse (which is one of the few ways Chinese practitioners diagnose disease). Then we will discuss what I think is going on, how we will go about regulating your energy and either do a little acupuncture, acupressure, cupping or gua sha and I may even prescribe you a Chinese herbal formula if you’re open to it. TMJ disorder is a painful thing and you may be in a lot of pain when you come so we will not do anything you are not comfortable with during the treatment.
For more information and would like a free 30 minute consult, please do not hesitate to contact me.