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.

Derek John Peacock, MD
(509) 946-7788
560 Gage Blvd Ste 203
Richland, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of London, Kings Coll Sch Med/Dent, London (352-19 Pr 1/71)
Graduation Year: 1981

Data Provided by:
John Merrill Seaman, MD
209 Martin Luther King Jr Way
Tacoma, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Ca, Davis, Sch Of Med, Davis Ca 95616
Graduation Year: 1975

Data Provided by:
Cathy Fritchen
(425) 339-5445
3901 Hoyt Ave
Everett, WA
Specialty
Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
Theresa Marie Karplus, MD
(360) 254-1240
700 NE 87th Ave
Vancouver, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Female
Education
Medical School: Tufts Univ Sch Of Med, Boston Ma 02111
Graduation Year: 1992

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:
Theresa Karplus
(360) 397-1500
700 Ne 87th Ave
Vancouver, WA
Specialty
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
Paul Barton Brown
(206) 587-0963
1229 Madison St
Seattle, WA
Specialty
Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
Alan Otto Haakenstad
(425) 259-9225
3218 Nassau St
Everett, WA
Specialty
Internal Medicine, Nephrology, Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
Robert Emil Ettlinger, MD
(253) 272-2261
1901 S Cedar St Ste 204
Tacoma, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Suny-Hlth Sci Ctr At Syracuse, Coll Of Med, Syracuse Ny 13210
Graduation Year: 1972

Data Provided by:
Jan Leslie Hillson, MD
(206) 223-6824
1100 9th Ave
Seattle, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Female
Education
Medical School: Stanford Univ Sch Of Med, Stanford Ca 94305
Graduation Year: 1980
Hospital
Hospital: Virginia Mason Hospital, Seattle, Wa
Group Practice: Virginia Mason Medical Ctr

Data Provided by:
Data Provided by:

Muscular and Joint Disorders

Provided by: 

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

Copyright 1999-2009 Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living/Alternative Medicine/InnoVisi...