Do you experience pain while enjoying your favorite food, wake up with a sore jaw, or are unable to open or close your mouth comfortably? If this is your case, then Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) dysfunction could be the main culprit behind your discomfort. Luckily, for those struggling with TMJ disorders, acupuncture for jaw pain is highly effective in alleviating the inflammation, discomfort, and pain that is generally associated with this issue.
Individuals with acute pain can find instant relief in a few treatments, whereas chronic conditions require several treatments for several weeks. Jaw pain is something that should not be taken lightly and has to be treated as early as possible. Otherwise, it may take a toll on your facial muscles and even make smiling a painful action.
What is TMJ?
For certain people, temporomandibular disorders (TMD) may be caused by an injury such as a car crash or a head trauma. Although for most, these issues emerge without any specific reason. Many individuals do things on a regular basis or have underlying factors that may induce or lead to the development of temporomandibular disorders, also known as TMJ.
Teeth grinding, chewing gum, too much stress, and even arthritis may lead to TMD. Some of the most common symptoms of TMD or TMJ are:
- Muffled hearing
- Pain when chewing
- Dental pain
- Chipped or worn teeth
- Jaw clicking
- Neck pain
- Difficulty moving the jaw
Acupuncture for Jaw Pain and TMJ
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that includes acupuncture, can be a better alternative. Acupuncture for jaw pain may be extremely helpful for people with TMJ or TMD. Various studies show that acupuncture can relieve pain and discomfort caused by TMJ.
TMJ acupuncture points lower the sensation of pain by actively stimulating the nerves that send signals to the brain. They help promote the production of endorphins and neurotransmitters in the body. These are naturally occurring compounds that tend to reduce and inhibit the sensation of pain by the brain.
Acupuncture for jaw pain has also been found to help relieve stress, which is often linked with painful conditions such as TMJ. When in a state of stress, our brain releases a hormone known as cortisol. Too much of this hormone can change the way the brain interprets pain and can also induce involuntary muscle spasms in the jaw muscles. This can lead to intense pain in the temporomandibular joints.
Introducing the acupuncture needles right into the core of the jaw muscle can also trigger a muscle spasm that can help release the tension in the muscle, enabling it to recover. As soon as the muscle stiffness is reduced, so too is the tightness and pain.
The Best TMJ Acupuncture Points
If you or someone you love is dealing with jaw pain or TMJ, try using these acupuncture points for TMJ disorder. It is a much better and safer option that offers long-term relief and, at the same time, can also enhance your overall wellbeing.
You can also activate these pressure points yourself at home with acupressure using the thumb and fingertips instead of needles to enjoy the benefits. Here are some of the best TMJ Acupuncture Points to relieve jaw pain and inflammation for good.
Acupoint: ST-6 (Other Names: Stomach-6/Jia Che/Jaw Bone)
Other usages of ST-6: Everything You Need To Know About How To Sleep With A Toothache
Acupoint: TE-17 (Other Names: Triple Energizer-17/Yi Feng/Wind Screen)
This point helps relax the facial muscles and is helpful for the treatment of ear pain, facial convulsions, jaw pain, frozen jaw, toothache, and facial paralysis.
Acupoint: SI-19 (Other Names: Small Intestine-19/Ting Gong/Palace of Hearing)
This point can be activated by squeezing the middle fingers on this point on both sides of the face for 1 minute while taking deep breaths. This is incredibly helpful for TMJ disorders, toothache, ear issues, hearing loss, tinnitus, and hearing problems.
Acupoint: TE-21 (Other Names: Triple Energizer-21/Er Men/Ear Gate)
Acupoint: GB-2 (Other Names: Gallbladder-2/Ting Hui/Meeting of Hearing)
In TCM, TMJ often relates to an imbalance in the liver and gallbladder meridians that pass over the locations usually associated with gallbladder and TMJ pain. Acupuncture for jaw pain targets these areas and promotes the recovery process and restores the balance between the meridians and the body, in effect easing the symptoms of TMJD.
Acupoint: GB-20 (Other Names: Gallbladder-20/Feng Chi/Wind Pool)
This point is effective for the treatment of jaw pain and is also a focal point for pain in the neck, stiff neck, and headache. Additionally, this point is also used to treat colds, nasal congestion, eye problems, and vertigo.
Related Reading: Improve your immune system with GB-20
Acupoint: GB-1 (Other Names: Gallbladder-1/Tong Zi Liao/Pupil Crevice)
Activation of this point can be paired with jaw muscle exercises to treat facial paralysis and Bell’s palsy. It is also used for the treatment of headaches and inflammation.
Acupoint: SI-18 (Other Names: Small Intestine-18/Quanliao/Cheek Bone Crevice)
Try Ear Seeds to Help Ease Your Jaw Pain
Another form of acupuncture, called Ear Acupressure, uses ear seeds to activate pressure points in the ear to positively impact various disorders. Ear seeds are a viable alternative to acupuncture as they restore balance to the “qi” or energy in your body so they can relieve pain, anxiety, stress, including TMJ and jaw pain, and help you quit smoking and lose weight. You can find out more about the background of ear seeds here.
Here is the ear seeds placement chart for TMJ:
Rather than merely covering up the symptoms of TMJ, acupuncture for jaw pain aims to fix the root cause of the issue. In the case of TMJ or jaw pain, this may include stress, muscle stiffness, or trauma. In a single treatment, acupuncture can address these conditions as well as the complications associated with it, including pain, anxiety, earaches, and vertigo. If that’s not enough motivation to give it a try, acupuncture also offers an additional advantage of minimizing stress and boosting the immune system.