Let me being by stating the ugly truth: Jaw pain (or TMJ/TMJD) can be very debilitating. At Oak Point Health & Vitality Centre, we’ve treated patients with jaw pain so severe it radiated to the temporal region of the head, causing extreme headaches.
The orthodox and most common prescription for this condition is a “night guard,” which can help reduce teeth grinding during sleep and thus alleviate some symptoms. However, many patients find such guards uncomfortable or end up chewing through them or simply do not stick to the required nightly regimen. When you come to Oak Point with jaw pain, we embrace a bigger picture approach and aim to eliminate the problem entirely.
As you know, when Oak Point practitioners treat anyone with any form of injury, we take a step back and look at the whole patient. We do so because the pain that brings you to us is the result of a deeper dysfunction. For example: rounded shoulders cause bad posture, e.g.
- Head juts forward
- Shoulder rounded forward and inward
- Upper and mid back rounded, exacerbating the thoracic curve
When the upper back and shoulder round forward (protraction), the TM Joint retracts backward, misaligning it. This causes:
- Abnormal wear and tear of the joint
- Clicking and dislocation while chewing food
- Tight jaw muscles which in turn can cause headaches
Using a mouth guard while sleeping can be helpful but it will not address the primary cause of pain. We see mouth guards as a tool to be used in conjunction with Posture Rehabilitation to connect the dysfunction and modalities (such as acupuncture and massage therapy) and reduce muscle tightness/pain. When treating patients with jaw pain at Oak Point, we combine:
- Spinal alignment
- Alignment exercises
- Habit re-education
- Acupuncture and/or massage therapy
This holistic protocol aims for the cause and not just the symptoms of your jaw pain. To learn more, contact us today to set up a complimentary consultation!
Written by Dimitri Boules LAc, LMT, CPE, CPT