Natural medicine for TMJ is rooted in Chinese naturopathic healing. TMJ is characterized by distress and pain in the joint that connects the skull and jawbone, the temporomandibular joint allows the jaw up, down and horizontal movement. Since the jaw has two temporomandibular joints, this disorder may occur in one or both of them.
Over 10 million Americans experience symptoms related to this musculoskeletal disorder. Besides affecting a person’s ability to talk and chew normally, other symptoms of this disorder include:
- Ear pain
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
Symptoms of TMJ can range from mild to moderate and, for some, severe and debilitating.
Types of TMJ
Occurring more frequently in women than men, TMJ disorders fall into three categories: myofascial pain, internal derangement and arthritis.
- Myofascial pain is the most common form, but causes are unknown; it occurs when the jaw muscles are sore or tender.
- Internal derangement occurs when the jaw suffers an impact, which may dislocate the jaw or damage the rounded ends of the lower jaw.
- Arthritis causes swelling and inflammation of joints and can occur in this joint as well.
Teeth grinding is a common denominator of TMJ sufferers and can be caused by stress.
Herbal treatments for TMJ focus on herbs that reduce inflammation and stress and include:
- Skullcap – an anti-inflammatory herb that treats nervous tension, headaches and insomnia, common in TMJ patients; also employed as an antispasmodic, it can relieve the spasms that may occur in the jaw muscles of TMJ sufferers
- Feverfew – reduces inflammation caused by arthritis, treats headaches and lowers stress
- St. John’s Wort – treats insomnia and anxiety accompanying TMJ
- Extracts of Kava – relaxes muscles, alleviates stress and promotes sleep
The University of Arizona conducted a study of alternative medicine for TMJ compared to traditional care and evaluated the results in 160 women treated at the Kaiser Permanente specialty clinic for TMJ disorders. The study results rated worst pain, average pain and psychosocial interference related to TMJ disorders. Across the board, natural medicine for TMJ produced better results for these patients than the results obtained through the traditional treatments at the Kaiser Permanente clinic. Three months after treatment the results still favored the naturopathic treatment.
Pain around the ear or temporomandibular joint, a popping sound when chewing or opening the mouth, or pain in the jaw muscles are all signs of TMJ. Natural medicine for TMJ effectively relieves these symptoms. Herbal remedies that relieve stress, inflammation and pain are the most useful in treating this disorder.