Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
TMJ is a joint dysfunction caused by a misaligned jaw or by grinding or clenching the teeth, especially at night. This repeated stress affects the temporomandibular joint, which joins the upper and lower jawbones. In this area where 38% of the brain’s sensory output passes through, and one-thousandth of an inch dislocation can cause problems, misalignment can damage the jaw area and a variety of symptoms can progress. Sufferers may experience neck, jaw, shoulder and back pain.
Symptoms of TMY sufferers vary. Headaches are frequently experienced, along with facial pain, ringing in the ears, a clicking jaw, insomnia, teeth and gum sensitivity, facial tics, sinus problems, sensitivity to hot and cold and dizziness.
The actual causes of TMJ are not well-defined but there are some possible causes. TMJ is not the only disorder that can cause jaw pain. Another possible cause could be osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Other possible causes can be Sjogren’s Syndrome, scleroderma, nail biting, any dislocation of the jaw from a severe blow to the head or jaw, improper bite from genetics, scalp cyst or abscess, severely swollen neck lymph nodes, poor nutrition, stressful lifestyle or behavior like chewing, swallowing, clenching, parasites, or gnashing of teeth and jaw movements. You can test for TMJ problems by gently sticking your little finger into your ears and then opening and closing your mouth. If you hear a lot of clicking and feel an imbalance between the two sides, you can suspect TMJ.
Try to consume a diet consisting of foods that are easily chewed and digested. Avoid high stress foods such as caffeine, which can increase muscle tension; alcohol, which can contribute to teeth grinding; junk food, colas, fast food, white flour, and refined sugar.
A diet composed mainly of lightly steamed vegetables, fresh fruits, lean meats, soups and tubers.
Avoid chewing gum.
- Manipulate the jaw into place and fit an acrylic appliance, reshaping of the teeth.
- Wear a tooth guard (mouthpiece) during sleep.
- Apply hot packs to the face and head during an acute attack. Sometimes alternating with cold and hot can be helpful.
- Decrease stressors in your life which will always exacerbate TMJ symptoms.
- Improve the posture of your neck, head and spine. See a chiropractor if necessary.
- Present in 25% of patients with fibromyalgia- induced by stressed lifestyles with muscle tension.
- OFTEN TIMES TMJ PROBLEMS ARE SECONDARY TO PARASITE ISSUES.
- BACH FLOWER RESCUE REMEDY – when applied topically this popular formula may help ease the shock and muscle rigidity. Dosage: As directed on package.
- GLUCOSAMINE SULFATE with CHONDROITIN SULFATE – this combination provides nutritional support for stronger bones, ligaments, tendons, and joint. Dosage: 500-1,000 mg daily.
- RELAXANT HERBS such as VALERIAN ROOT, HOPS, SKULLCAP, CATNIP or PASSION FLOWER – are effective in calming and relaxing the muscles around the mouth and are anti-stress to the patient. Teas can be effective. Dosage: As directed.
- ARNICA TINCTURE can be used for 1-2 weeks to decrease pain and swelling and induce healing.
Balch, JF, Balch PA. Prescription for Nutritional Healing- 3rd edition. Penguin Putman Inc. New York, NY. 2000.
Dean, C. TMJ Trouble. Natural Health, Sept-Oct 1998. P. 26.
Marion, JB. Anti Aging Manual. Information Pioneers, S. Woodstock, CT. 1996
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