painneckcrop150.jpgHow’s your Temporomandibular Joint feeling today?  Many of you, I suspect, are struggling with tension, pain, and other issues related to this little joint that sits in front of your ear where your upper and lower jawbones meet.

Some of you might have headaches that are traced back to TMJ.  Others might wear mouth guards because your TMJ problems cause you to grind your teeth in your sleep.  You might feel direct, shooting pain in your jaw.  Or, like me, you might have TMJ-related ear issues, as TMJ tension can both affect hearing and disrupt the Eustacian tube that goes from the ear to the throat.

There’s little that can be done medically to alleviage TMJ dysfunction, unless you have a serious jaw alignment problem that needs surgical correction.  But there are a number of holistic therapies and alternative medicine practices that can help.

Here are 3 to get the conversation started.

1.  Acupuncture – The TMJ is a key point along the stomach meridian, one of the 12 major energy pathways of the body, according to Chinese medicine.  Acupuncture needles can help encourage qi (pronounced “chee”) energy to move more smoothly through the joint, not getting caught up in tension and blockage.

2.  Massage – This can take the form of acupressure or cranialsacral massage.  It can be done by an acupuncturist, chiropractor, massage therapist, osteopath, or cranialsacral specialist.  The practitioner might don a glove and massage from both the outside and inside of your mouth. A verion of massage can also be self-administered if you open your mouth slightly and gently massage the outside of your face, around the TMJ and down your jawline.  If you feel specific points that are especially painful, apply gentle pressure there and see if it  releases. 

3.  Meditation – This is really just basic stress management logic.  If TMJ pain is caused by tension, and tension is caused by emotional stress manifesting in your body, then the best treatment is to rein in your general stress level, allowing your body to un-clench a bit.

What’s your relationship with your TMJ?  What holistic treatments have you tried?

(image via: http://www.dralbers.com/p_e8_grinding.htm)  

 

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