Are you clenching your jaw while you work at your computer? What about waking up in the morning with pain and stiffness in your jaw because you were grinding your teeth at night? We hear from so many of you about facial pain and headaches that are caused by these stress responses. The data tells us that 1/3 of adults experience temporomandibular joint disorder (known as TMJ or TMD) in their lives. It is usually treated with a bite guard from your dentist which does help save your teeth. The clenching and tension in your jaw, however, is still a painful concern, especially if it is also leading to headaches.
Acupuncture has been the subject of many research studies and the conclusion is that it is an effective therapeutic intervention for head and facial pain. A British study showed that 85% of patients receiving acupuncture for TMJ benefited with an average reduction in pain intensity of 75%. Other studies show that acupuncture intervention leads to better quality of life and in one study, acupuncture alongside using a mouth guard improved symptoms for 18 to 20 years.
Like dry needling, acupuncturists utilize the common trigger points along the jaw, around the ear, and at the top of the neck to release muscles that are tight or spasming. Additionally, and perhaps most helpful in the long-term, acupuncture points on the arms and legs are used to specifically promote endorphin release and “re-set” the nervous system which results in a much-decreased feeling of stress. By helping the pain symptoms and tackling the physical reaction to stress, our patients notice rapid results that last.
If you have questions or would like to schedule, give our Raleigh office a call at 919-854-7311 or the Chapel Hill location at 919-933-4480.