Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) pain can be one of the most difficult to live with for many patients. It can be related to many causes both physical and psychological as it is heavily tied to side effects from stress. Grinding teeth and jaw clenching are common physical signs of stress and can lead to serious pain from TMJ as well as headaches. CranioSacral Therapy is believed to be one of the most effective treatments of TMJ pain in hand with the use of dental appliances such as mouth guards. Here are four important facts about TMJ:
- 1. Symptoms of TMJ
The symptoms of TMJ can include:
- Pain and aching in the jaw joint
- Difficulty opening the mouth without discomfort
- Clicking or popping when the mouth is being opened and closed
- Jaw can lock when opened wide
- Ringing in the ears
All of these symptoms can be very disruptive to a patient’s life and the level of pain and the number of symptoms can vary from patient to patient.
- 2. Diagnosis
The symptoms of TMJ pain are often identified by the patient’s dentist who may opt to provide a mouth guard which can be used to correct the bite of patients using occlusal therapy with the use of appliances such as mouth guards. Although mouth guards can be very effective in easing the symptoms, it is not a “cure” for TMJ.
- 3. Complementary Treatments
As an RMT you may have patients seeking relief from TMJ pain. Although a mouth guard can assist in pain relief it is not always completely effective. CranioSacral therapy is believed to be an effective treatment for many holistic care providers but is also a controversial treatment in the opinion of many medical professionals. CranioSacral therapy is a newer modality and health care providers who specialize in this treatment see improvements in patients as early as two sessions. Patients can often stop wearing their appliances or at least wearing them less. As well many are able to enjoy foods that they were unable to eat due to pain and limited motion opening the jaw and mouth. In eight to 12 treatments most patients have completely been relieved of their pain while others continue regular intermittent treatments in order to continue to benefit from treatments for a pain free life.
- 4. Non-Invasive Treatment
CarnioSacral therapy is non-invasive and very gentle. It works by changing the fluid pressures inside the skull gently and subtly. Although it is not recommended for patients who have suffered from a brain hemorrhage it can be used for most patients with great affect. Because many TMJ sufferers have stress related symptoms it is believed CranioSacral therapy also works as it is a very relaxing therapy. This modality may begin to become more popular as therapists continue to see results.
Being aware of these four TMJ facts will assist you in deciding on appropriate treatment.