Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Pain is a pain in the jaw when resting or chewing. The cause isn't clear but there are few risk factors: various types of arthritis, jaw injury, and chronic teeth grinding or clenching. TMJ disorders are diagnosed by a doctor or dentist. They will listen and feel your jaw for "clicking" when you open and close your mouth, observe the range of motion of the jaw and press around the jaw for pain or discomfort. The treatment for TMJ disorders are pain medication, muscle relaxants, mouth guards and surgery. These treatment focus mostly on the joint but Eastern Medicine attacks the root of TMJ pain.
In Eastern Medicine, TMJ pain is treated by relaxing the muscle and reducing emotional issues that may be causing the grinding/clenching. The main muscles for mastication (act of chewing) are Masseter, Buccinator and Temporalis. The motor points of these muscles will be needled along with body points to ground and relax the patient. Due to the versatility of certain acupuncture points, multiple symptoms of TMJ pain can be addressed in one treatment.
The downside of acupuncture treatment is time. Multiple treatments are needed to re-teach the body to relax these muscles. But in the long-run, it may be more beneficial than the Band-Aid fix.