Date: Mar 19, 2014
Title: An Introduction to TMJ Dysfunction
For the past year or so we've been endevoring to expand our modalities of patient care to include treatment of TMJ Dysfunction with our sister clinic, Integrated TMJ. In an effort to raise awareness about the dysfunction, here's a brief synopisis about what TMD is and how we can help treat it.
Temporalmandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD) is a disorder concerning your jaw joint. There are a multitude for potential causes for TMD which we'll get to in a second, but the underlying issuse is that the protective disk in your jaw joint that rests between your mandible and temporal bone (ie. temporalmandibular joint) becomes damaged or displaced. This causes pain and dysfunction in the surrounding masculatory muscles, leading to a variety of symptoms including, but not limited to...
Because of the wide variety of symptoms that can manifest from TMD, pinpointing an exact cause of the dysfunction is unrealistic. Common issuse associated with TMD include injury or traum, stress, or teeth grinding, but every case is different. That's why we uses a comprehencive treatment approach that includes a variety of different therapies...
- Ultrasound - An ultrasound device helps to break up scar tissue and adhesions, bring blood flow to the applied area. Through the production of penetrating sound waves and heat, the Ultrasound works on the deeper muscles and tissue that a heat pack cannot reach. The heat causes an increase in blood flow, which prepares the muscles for the next step, trigger-point specific massage.
- Massage - Massage is used to help relax the muscles, bring blood flow to the area, and advance healing. During the massage, our licensed staff will seek out and locate trigger points in the muscles that cause pain. The trigger points may refer pain from the muscle to other areas of the body. For example, a trigger point in the upper shoulder may refer pain up into the jaw, and vice versa.
- Microcurrent - Microcurrent is used to help break up the trigger points that were located during the massage. The Alpha-Stim microcurrent sends a minimal electrical current that produces ATP, or energy, into the trigger point, allowing it to relax and unwind. Once the trigger point releases, lactic acid build up releases and pain reduces in the area as well as in referring areas.
- Cold Laser - The final stage of the myofascial treatment sequence involves the use of a cold laser, which helps not only to decrease pain and inflammation but also speeds up the healing process of the muscles and joints, increasing healing time by 25-35%. The low level laser uses a non-heat laser light to send a signal to the muscles and nerves to produce ATP, or energy, allowing the muscles to relax and increase in blood flow.
- Movement Coaching - Taught by our skilled movement coach and certified Feldenkrais practitioner Rose Silberman, the Feldenkrais Method of somatic education helps to improve your posture and kinesthetic awareness. This can be a substantial benefit to every aspect of one’s life, but when applied specifically to the treatment of TMJ dysfunction, it helps correct forward head posture, a common issue with temporalmandibular joint displacement.
- Occlusal Guard - An occlusal guard is the most common tool in treating TMJ dysfunction. It’s a type of mouth piece that is custom fabricated to fit your bite, which can be worn at night (commonly referred to as a night guard) or 24 hours a day, if needed. The device’s bite is carefully designed to control forces on the teeth and diminish muscle pain. Occlusal guards are also one of the most effective methods for treating TMD. Typically, 70-90% of patients report significant relief from wearing one.
- Home Care - The best therapeutic improvement is the result of good patient and clinician communication and mutual cooperation during the treatment sequence, therefore, we provide you with tools such as heat packs, ice packs, stretches and a microcurrent unit to be used at home in order to extend and enhance your reduction of pain. Additionally, we provide you with MSM lotion and supplements to help detoxify build-up of free radicals in your muscles and to help reduce inflammation.
If you thing you might be suffering from TMD, please give us a call. We can do a over-the-phone cunsultation to see if treatment might be benifical for you and discuss how to proceed. For more info, check out Integrated TMJ's website.