Posted on: 18 March 2015
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (also known as TMD,) affects nearly ten million Americans. Although common, TMD can be difficult to treat, with options ranging from pain medication to surgery. Your dentist should be your primary partner in the battle against TMD symptoms, but there are a few things you can do outside of their office to find some relief.
You're likely aware that grinding your teeth is a bad habit, and here's one more reason to quit-- bruxism can exacerbate the symptoms of TMD. When you grind your teeth, surrounding muscles become tense and begin to put pressure on the temporomandibular joint.
To protect your teeth from grinding and clenching while you sleep, consider investing in a bite guard. Your dentist can create one based off a mold of your mouth to ensure a proper fit, and many drug stores carry one-size-fits-most bite guards. With regular use, you may notice that your TMD symptoms begin to lessen.
Acupuncture is the practice of inserting thin needles into the skin. Not nearly as painful as it sounds, acupuncture generally feels like a light pin prick, or sometimes nothing at all. Acupuncture is based off the ancient Chinese belief that energy-- referred to as qi-- flows throughout the body on paths. Sickness, stress, and even daily life can block qi from traveling freely. Needles are used to clear up the passageways, and guide qi evenly throughout the body.
When performed by a trained acupuncturist, acupuncture may be used to help treat a variety of conditions, including TMD.
When you think about meditating, odds are you imagine feeling relaxed and free of stress. That alone could be reason enough to try it, but there's another incentive-- mindful meditation has been shown to relieve pain. In one study, participants were split into four groups and exposed to a painful stimulus. Over the next few days, one group was asked to practice mindful meditation, one group was used as a control, and the remaining two were given sham treatments. When re-exposed to the painful stimulus, the group practicing mindful meditation experienced the lowest levels of pain.
To practice mindful meditation, sit in a calm, comfortable area and focus your attention on your breathing. You may find that regular meditation sessions decrease the amount of TMD pain you feel.
Talk with a dentist at a family dental clinic to see what other treatment options may be right for you.Share