TMJ affects millions of people all over the world and despite the fact that it is so common, we are still learning more each day about its causes and how to treat it.
What we do know is that there are a number of effective treatments that can be used in combination to provide you with relief and improve your quality of life. Using a comprehensive, holistic approach, we can begin to understand the nature of your specific concerns and provide you with excellent care. Should your TMJ problems be muscle-related, there are ways that you can better your own condition with a series of exercises and self-care tips.
Practice your own initial treatment
In a study published by the medical journal Clinical Oral Investigations, patients who suffered from facial pain caused by TMJ found self-care treatments to be more effective than the oral appliances, splints and mouthguards usually prescribed as the first line of defence. The study was conducted by researchers from NYU College of Dentistry and findings suggest that the first line should be found a little closer to home. While oral appliances are the most common initial treatment, they have garnered mixed results with regards to research into their benefits.
Researchers also looked at which non-medication treatments were used by women to treat the symptoms of TMJ and how well they were able to manage their pain. All in all, 125 women were interviewed and most of them used oral appliances (59%), physical therapy (54%), jaw exercises (34%) and acupuncture (20%) with a variety of other treatments making up the rest of the numbers.
Holistic treatment vs oral appliances
During the study, most of the women reported that they had experienced better results using the self-care routine that included jaw exercises, massage, meditation, yoga with 84% agreeing that they worked in some way. This is significantly more than the 64% who said they had had a positive experience with the oral appliances and in some cases even said that their condition had worsened.
“Oral appliances did not outperform self-management care techniques in improving facial pain. Our results support the use of self-management as the first line of treatment for muscular TMJ before considering more expensive interventions,” was the matter-of-fact deduction from the co-author of the study and NYU College of Dentistry professor, Karen Raphael.