People sometimes talk about "having TMJ" when describing the pain experienced on the side of their jaw in front of their ears. In actuality, TMJ is the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint which refers to that part of the body. When the TMJ experiences pain, the medical condition is called temporomandibular disorder (TMD).
TMD stems from the overuse of specific muscle groups that connect to myofascial trigger points. For example, activities such as grinding one's teeth, chewing something too sticky, or having dental work may send the jaw into overdrive. According to Practical Pain Management, it is estimated that 10 million Americans experience headaches, muscle stiffness and weakness, restricted movement of the jaws and general jaw tenderness as a result of TMJ pain.
Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in treating TMD. Studies conducted in 2019 and 2021 confirmed that patients who received acupuncture had reduced pain due to acupuncture's ability to modulate endorphin and serotonin levels. These patients also saw improvements in their symptoms compared to those who were treated with medication.
Please feel free to call us at 301.880.3232 and it would be our pleasure to schedule a comprehensive evaluation and acupuncture treatment for you with Dr. Christina Tian.
Goldstein, L. and Gilbert, S., 2022. Acupuncture: New Approach for Temporomandibular Disorders. [online] Practical Pain Management. Available at: <https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/pain/maxillofacial/tmj/acupuncture-new-approach-temporomandibular-disorders> [Accessed 16 March 2022].
HealthCMi 2022. [online] Available at: <https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/2120-acupuncture-halts-tmj-pain-finding> [Accessed 16 March 2022].
Wu JY, Zhang C, Xu YP, et al. Acupuncture therapy in the management of the clinical outcomes for temporomandibular disorders: A PRISMA-compliant meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2017;96(9):e6064. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000006064