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.

Natalia R Tishkevich
(206) 386-9500
515 Minor Ave #300
Seattle, WA
Specialty
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology

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:
David Edward Wisner, MD
(360) 676-1610
470 Birchwood Ave
Bellingham, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Wi Med Sch, Madison Wi 53706
Graduation Year: 1972

Data Provided by:
Margaret R Schlesinger
(206) 987-2057
4800 Sand Point Way Ne
Seattle, WA
Specialty
Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
Mary Ann Wemple, MD
(206) 326-2400
1200 12th Avenue South
Seattle, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Female
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Mi Med Sch, Ann Arbor Mi 48109
Graduation Year: 1995

Data Provided by:
Richard Isidor Rynes, MD
(253) 983-8285
1959 NE Pacific St
Seattle, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Pa Sch Of Med, Philadelphia Pa 19104
Graduation Year: 1965

Data Provided by:
Sunanda Uberoi, MD
(253) 838-3045
34509 9th Ave S
Federal Way, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Female
Education
Medical School: All India Inst Of Med Sci, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi, India
Graduation Year: 1970

Data Provided by:
William Patrick Knibbe, MD
(208) 383-0201
4800 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Ut Sch Of Med, Salt Lake Cty Ut 84132
Graduation Year: 1976
Hospital
Hospital: St Alphonsus Reg Med Ctr, Boise, Id; Childrens Hosp & Med Ctr, Seattle, Wa
Group Practice: Intermountain Orthopaedics

Data Provided by:
Nancy S Karr
(253) 446-0311
102 23rd Ave Se
Puyallup, WA
Specialty
Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
Catherine Andrea Lee
(509) 838-2531
400 E 5th Ave
Spokane, WA
Specialty
Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
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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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