When there is pain in the jaw at the area of the temporomandibular joint it is commonly diagnosed as TMJ Syndrome.
Other symptoms can include grinding of teeth, clicking of the jaw, facial asymmetry and limited range of movement when opening the jaw.
Acupuncture for TMJ problems and other associated symptoms has been used for centuries.
What causes TMJ?
From a western medical perspective, TMJ is caused by an external injury, complications as a result of improper dental procedures and clenching of the teeth. More than 50% of TMJ is also involved with rheumatoid arthritis.
From a Chinese medicine perspective, it can due to an external injury as well as other internal energy imbalances. For example, suppressed anger can lead to liver qi stagnation which can then lead to clenching of the jaw during sleep. In other cases, there are parallels to western medicine where the Chinese believe that wind can penetrate into the area and cause blockage with pain. This equates to the modern concept of rheumatoid arthritis. When there is deficiency and weakness of energy and blood in any of the organs, then the energy in their meridian will also be weak and affects the area of their pathway such as through the face and jaw.
What if the teeth grinding is the cause, can that be helped with acupuncture?
There are a number of causes of grinding the teeth during sleep, which may involve the liver, heart and stomach. We ask Scott Pearson of the Newtown Acupuncture Centre, opposite Wellington Hospital how these organs may contribute to grinding of teeth. He says, “The liver is particularly effected by stress and anger and as the liver controls ligaments and tendons, they easily tighten up leading to clenching. Chinese medicine also says that any emotion, if in excess, can lead to fire and in some cases cause what we term heart fire. Fire and heat can rise and then affect the face causing tightening of the jaw. In other instances, an irregular diet with too much hot spicy and hard to digest foods, can lead to a stomach organ and meridian imbalance. The stomach meridian traverses through the face and jaw area.“
Chinese medicine says that even worms can cause grinding of the teeth
Chinese medicine observed many centuries ago that roundworms can cause grinding of teeth as well as other associated symptoms such as desire to eat peculiar foods. Roundworms are treated with Chinese herbs.
Visit our extensive list of all other Conditions Treated at The Acupuncture Clinic.