Teeth grinding, otherwise known as bruxism, is a prevalent issue many people may not even realize. Bruxism is a condition where you grind your teeth, as well as clench them. Most people who suffer from Bruxism clench and grind in their sleep, while others consciously do this during the day. Either way, it is absolutely terrible for your teeth. It can result in flat, cracked teeth, stress, and jaw pain. Acupuncture for teeth grinding through traditional Chinese medicine is an excellent method for relieving the symptoms of Bruxism.
Bruxism can cause Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ. This disorder affects the joints that connect the top and bottom jawbones. Symptoms include jaw pain, dizziness, jaw clicking, neck pain, and headaches. It can be extremely uncomfortable and cause lifelong issues. Acupuncture for TMJ can help relieve symptoms and the underlying reason TMJ developed in the first place.
TMJ And Bruxism
Before we get into ways to relieve the pain caused by TMJ and bruxism, are Bruxism and TMJ the same? Bruxism can happen because of a variety of factors. Those include malformed teeth, stress, anxiety, sleeping in a weird position, or consciously doing it while awake. The grinding can cause cracked teeth and a slew of other issues.
TMJ can be a vicious cycle if you are battling anxiety and depression. Since anxiety and depression are reasons for TMJ and also symptoms that can develop from having it, it is crucial to remedy all things surrounding TMJ. The same goes for bruxism. While TMJ and Bruxism are different, they usually coexist with each other. The symptoms can be miserable and may eventually result in surgery. Using acupuncture for teeth grinding with other TCM techniques can alleviate symptoms to avoid surgeries and other invasive procedures.
Acupuncture For TMJ
One of the symptoms of Bruxism is TMJ. The symptoms can include stress and jaw pain. While Western Medicine suggests painkillers and a soft food diet, acupuncture is a more sustainable means of relieving pain. If the pain is acute, a few treatments should clear things right up, but if the pain has been chronic and long term, it would be wise to incorporate acupuncture treatment as a regular thing.
Since TMJ is associated with stress and anxiety, acupuncture for teeth grinding is a great relief for all of these things. Acupuncture involves inserting needles into specific acupuncture points based on traditional Chinese medicine. If you don’t like the idea of putting needles into your body or If you do not have time to visit an acupuncturist, you can also massage the same acupuncture points at home with just your fingers. Acupuncture points or acupoints are connected to the nervous system, and putting pressure on these points can help relieve stress in certain areas.
Acupuncture Points For TMJ Disorder Relief
Acupoint: ST-6 (Other Names: Stomach-6/Jia Che/Jaw Bone)
This acupoint is the jaw bone itself. While it may seem an obvious place to start, you must put pressure on the correct area. It is positioned between the upper and lower jaws. When you chew, your muscle protrudes and forms a small depression in front of it. That small depression is ST-6.
Acupoint: TE-17 (Other Names: Triple Energizer-17/Yi Feng/Wind Screen)
Pressing behind the ear can relieve the strain your jaw feels after a lot of teeth grinding. Maybe you have been very stressed, and the clenching has been worse than usual. This point is excellent in relieving the pressure here.
Acupoint: SI-19 (Other Names: Small Intestine-19/Ting Gong/Palace of Hearing)
This acupoint is essential for many acupuncture treatments. You will be able to find it by the indent that happens when you open your mouth. You can press on this area with a finger to help relieve pressure. Along with acupuncture for teeth grinding, this acupoint is beneficial in treating ear issues like tinnitus.
Acupoint: ST-7 (Other Names: Stomach-7/Xia Guan/Below the Arch)
This facial acupoint is another excellent one for acupuncture for teeth grinding. It is in a depression in front of the ear when you close your mouth. When you open your mouth, that depression will protrude slightly from the face. Try to close and open your mouth a few times you will find it. This is excellent acupuncture for tight jaw muscles.
Acupoint: ST-44 (Other Names: Stomach-44/Nei Ting/Inner Court)
Surprisingly, there are also acupoints in the foot that will help with TMJ. Between the second and third toes on the back of the foot behind the toes’ web is an acupoint. It has proven to help relieve jaw pain symptoms.
Now that we have looked at some of the acupoints that will help with TMJ and Bruxism, some acupoints focus on relieving stress and anxiety that can help prevent TMJ and Bruxism from becoming an issue. These anxiety relief acupoints can also help with winding down before bed to get a good night’s sleep, which can help eliminate the potential of bruxism while you are sleeping. This is also the acupoint that helps you to sleep with a toothache.
Acupoint: EM-2 (Other Names: /Yin Tang/Hall of Impression)
Also called the third eye acupressure point. When you are feeling stressed and anxious, it’s common for headaches to form. A powerful acupoint to relieve this pressure is between the eyebrows. Pressing here with your thumb for a few minutes can help to alleviate the pressure when you feel a headache coming on.
Acupoint: GB-21 (Other Names: Gallbladder-21/Jian Jing/Shoulder Well)
Your shoulders are where a lot of stress and anxiety will rest. You know the phrase “weight on your shoulders?” This is what anxiety does to you. This acupoint is so important for relieving stress. Have someone help you with this one to get optimum pressure, or schedule a massage. These points are on each shoulder on your backside.
With this list of acupoints, you should have more than enough to get going in the right direction to start alleviating some pain related to Bruxism. Another option for pain relief on acupoints is Ear Seeds. Ear seeds are another tool that you can use when experimenting with acupuncture. They are a painless alternative to the traditional method of using needles.
So, what are ear seeds? They are small seeds used to target the pressure points in acupressure. They help the energy pass through the pathways to help relieve pain throughout the body. Many acupoints live in the ear, and ear seeds are an excellent way to target essential points of pressure to help you reduce your pain without having to go to a specialist all of the time. Ear seeds can be worn throughout the day to continue applying pressure instead of maybe walking around all with your thumb on your ear.
Along with TMJ and Bruxism, ear seeds can help other chronic pain patients, such as those with Fibromyalgia, Depression, and even allergies. You can buy ear seeds in a kit that will have Vaccaria seeds and a manual to show you exactly where to place the seeds in your ear. If you are a beginner learning how to do acupressure at home, ear seeds are a perfect way to start exploring past pressing on your temple with a finger.
To sum it up, acupressure is an incredible form of pain relief that can be done at home. If you suffer from chronic pain such as TMJ from Bruxism, acupressure, or acupuncture is an alternative to surgeries and other invasive procedures to correct the problem. With the help of acupressure, you can learn to live with the chronic pain and alleviate it on your schedule while knowing what acupoints will help channel energy through you in an effective way.
Bruxism is not something to ignore, as it can lead to problems like cracked and damaged teeth. The pain itself is not fun and can lead to a lowered mental state. We hope acupressure works for you.