Joint Disorder Specialist Sequim WA

Unfortunately, despite decades of research, we still don’t know what causes TMJD. But strong evidence suggests excessive use of the jaw muscles (grinding or clenching the teeth and jaws, known as bruxis), trauma tothe joint from an accident, and, of course, stress all play a role.

Andrew S Sohn
(425) 252-8375
1330 Rockefeller Ave
Everett, WA
Specialty
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
Helen Emery
(206) 987-2000
4800 Sand Point Way Ne
Seattle, WA
Specialty
Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
Jeffrey Bragg Butler, MD
(509) 838-6500
8618 S Cliff View Ln
Spokane, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Tufts Univ Sch Of Med, Boston Ma 02111
Graduation Year: 1985

Data Provided by:
David Elliott Stage, MD
(206) 223-6824
1100 9th Ave
Seattle, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Harvard Med Sch, Boston Ma 02115
Graduation Year: 1965
Hospital
Hospital: Virginia Mason Hospital, Seattle, Wa
Group Practice: Virginia Mason Medical Ctr

Data Provided by:
James J Nakashima
(360) 414-2730
1615 Delaware St
Longview, WA
Specialty
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
Kristen Nicole Hayward
(206) 543-0065
1959 Ne Pacific St
Seattle, WA
Specialty
Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
Richard Alan Jimenez, MD
(206) 762-3730
8720 14th Ave S
Seattle, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Med Coll Of Ohio, Toledo Oh 43699
Graduation Year: 1974

Data Provided by:
Bong Sup Kim, MD
(206) 362-3361
2512 Wheaton Way
Bremerton, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Seoul Natl Univ, Coll Of Med, Chongno-Ku, Seoul, So Korea
Graduation Year: 1983

Data Provided by:
Jerry A Molitor
(206) 223-6600
1100 9th Ave
Seattle, WA
Specialty
Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
Mark Walter Layton, MD
(360) 754-6700
1212 Harrison Ave NW
Olympia, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Wa Sch Of Med, Seattle Wa 98195
Graduation Year: 1982
Hospital
Hospital: St Peter Hospital, Olympia, Wa
Group Practice: South Puget Sound Clinical Ctr

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Muscular and Joint Disorders

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By Sam Dworkin, dds, phd, professor emeritus of psychiatry, behavioral sciences and oral medicine at the University of Washington Schools of Medicine and Dentistry

Assuming your dentist has already ruled out arthritis or a traumatic injury as the cause of your TMJD, yes, natural treatments will ease the pain without surgery or heavy drugs. TMJD (temporomandibular muscle and joint disorders) refers to problems with the chewing muscles (the masseter in your cheek and temporalis by your temple) or temporomandibular joint that cause persistent pain and even jaw lock. TMJD affects women much more than men (80 percent of people seeking treatment are female)—specifically women in their reproductive years (18 to 45). While no clear reason for this disparity exists, women appear to have less effective pain control during the low estrogen part of their cycle (right before and during menstruation), and the rapid fluctuations in estrogen throughout the reproductive years also seem to increase pain. This may partially explain why TMJD pain occurs much less frequently in postmenopausal women who are not on hormone replacement therapy—HRT has been linked to higher likelihood of jaw pain.

Unfortunately, despite decades of research, we still don’t know what causes TMJD. But strong evidence suggests excessive use of the jaw muscles (grinding or clenching the teeth and jaws, known as bruxis), trauma tothe joint from an accident, and, of course, stress all play a role. Stress causes widespread changes in your body—almost all of them negative—from increased muscle tension to neurological changes and even depression. Managing stress, dealing with bottled-up emotions, and a little TLC for your TMJ will help you alleviate, and possibly eliminate, your pain.

Getting to know your pain
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is particularly effective in treating chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. CBT helps you notice your body’s reaction to stress—how stress heightens pain and other symptoms (think tension in the body and jaw). It then offers simple techniques like guided imagery and relaxation exercises to reduce not only the experience of stress but also its impact on the body—increased muscle tension, heart rate, and blood pressure, all of which exacerbate pain everywhere in the body. It’s best to work with a trained CBT therapist, but start with this simple exercise:
Counter the tension in the jaw by licking your lips slightly and then swallowing. Allow the jaw to remain in the position it naturally takes immediately after swallowing—teeth slightly apart and lips lightly touching. This natural position leaves the big chewing muscles relaxed. Practice this for three to five minutes several times a day.
Monitor your pain. A couple of times a day, take a moment to rate your pain on a scale from zero to 10, and look for patterns over time. Is your pain worse in the mornings? Do certain emotions affect it? What seems to trigger or relieve the pain?

TLC...

Author: Sam Dworkin, dds, phd

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