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.

Stephen Richard Shaul, MD
(509) 248-1232
1111 W Spruce St Ste 28
Yakima, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Cornell Univ Med Coll, New York Ny 10021
Graduation Year: 1969

Data Provided by:
Ngozi Janet Achebe, MD
403 Lilly Rd NE
Olympia, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Female
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Nigeria, Coll Of Med, Enugu, Anambra, Nigeria
Graduation Year: 1983

Data Provided by:
James David Prickett, MD
(360) 738-2200
402 Bayside Rd
Bellingham, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Stanford Univ Sch Of Med, Stanford Ca 94305
Graduation Year: 1976

Data Provided by:
Sean Paul LaSalle
(509) 838-6500
105 W 8th Ave
Spokane, WA
Specialty
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
Dr.Verlene Gauthier
(425) 656-5060
4011 Talbot Rd S # 300
Renton, WA
Gender
F
Speciality
Rheumatologist
General Information
Accepting New Patients: Yes
RateMD Rating
5.0, out of 5 based on 2, reviews.

Data Provided by:
Jonathan P Witte, MD
(425) 259-0966
3901 Hoyt Ave
Everett, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Il Coll Of Med, Chicago Il 60680
Graduation Year: 1977

Data Provided by:
Cong-Qiu Chu
(206) 598-4615
1959 Ne Pacific St
Seattle, WA
Specialty
Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
Andrew Keith Solomon, MD
(425) 774-2632
2151 7th Ave W
Seattle, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Tel Aviv Univ, Sackler Fac Of Med, Tel Aviv, Israel
Graduation Year: 1985

Data Provided by:
Kenneth Ray Wilske, MD
(206) 223-6824
1118 9th Ave
Seattle, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Languages
Other
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Wa Sch Of Med, Seattle Wa 98195
Graduation Year: 1959
Hospital
Hospital: Virginia Mason Hospital, Seattle, Wa
Group Practice: Virginia Mason Medical Ctr

Data Provided by:
Howard Mark Kenney, MD
(509) 838-6500
105 W 8th Ave Ste 400
Spokane, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Ut Sch Of Med, Salt Lake Cty Ut 84132
Graduation Year: 1977
Hospital
Hospital: Deaconess Med Ctr, Spokane, Wa; Sacred Heart Med Ctr, Spokane, Wa
Group Practice: Arthritis Northwest

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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

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