TMJ and Jaw Pain

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TMJ and Jaw Pain

Firstly, TMJ pain may easily be reduced by the insertion of a fine needle into the masseter muscle. Doing cosmetic acupuncture on a regular basis gives me an edge when undertaking this procedure. Temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ involves problems with the jaw, surrounding facial muscles and the Jaw joint. When a person grinds or clenches the teeth, it puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ. If the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket joint is dislocated, then the joint can become arthritic. Injury to the jaw, TMJ or muscles of the head and neck, such as from a heavy blow or whiplash can cause the condition. Symptoms may include Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when chewing, speaking or opening the mouth wide. A person may have a limited ability to open the mouth wide, or the jaw may become stuck or locked in the open or closed position. Clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth or chewing (which may or may not be accompanied by pain).

What to expect during treatment for TMJ or Jaw pain

Firstly a whole body assessment is needed using Chinese medicine diagnostics such as the pulse, questioning and abdominal and facial diagnosis. The root cause of the condition is established in this phase. Acupuncture needles are used to restore balance to the organ-meridian system. Needles will be placed in the body and the jaw line. Next, a cupping treatment or a Jade stone massage may also be applied. Treatment may take around an hour.

Technical Information in regards to TMJ syndrome

The TMJ is a hinge joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull. Several muscles can be involved in TMJ problems. The temporalis muscle is a large, thin, fan-shaped muscle located on the side of the skull above and in front of the ear. Its origin attachments are the temporal lines, fossa and fascia, and it inserts into the coronoid process and anterior ramus of the mandible. It is a muscle of mastication and its role is similar to the masseter, which is to elevate the mandible. Although the masseter is more powerful, the temporalis is also an important chewing muscle. The temporalis starts at the temporal bone of the skull and passes all the way down beneath the zygomatic arch, attaching to the mandible. It assists the masseter in closing the jaw but it also retracts the mandible. The lateral pterygoid muscle, also shaped like a fan, is responsible for moving the lower jaw from side to side. It originates at its wide end at the lateral pterygoid plate, while the narrow end of the fan inserts into the anterior surface of the coronoid process. The masseter elevates and protracts the mandible. Its origin is the zygomatic arch and insertion is the lateral surface of the mandible. All three of these muscles work during mastication, but may also be continuously called on during periods of stress when the jaw is habitually clenched or when grinding the teeth. This clenching and grinding can result in headaches, which are myofascial in origin which means problems of the muscles.

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