Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a blanket term used to refer to issues that arise with the temporalandibular joint (TMJ). This joint, as well as the associated muscles, are important in the mobility of your jaw. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofascial Research, it affects between 5-12% of the population and is more prevalent in women than in men.1
TMD can present pain or tenderness that gets worse with jaw movement, face and neck pain, clicking or popping sounds with jaw movement, swelling on the side of the face, jaw locking, or reduced jaw movement. The causes of TMD are varied and can include abnormalities in the joint structure, inflammation of the joint or associated muscles, damage due to trauma or overuse of muscles, jaw clenching/teeth grinding (bruxism), and muscle spasms.
In western medicine, the treatment for TMD is usually by occlusal splints, medications (pain killers and muscle relaxants), physiotherapy/massage, or even dental surgery. Acupuncture can be used alone or in conjunction with western medical interventions to treat TMD. Acupuncture can significantly reduce the symptoms of TMD² and can achieve lasting improvement in symptoms³. A pilot whole systems clinical trial, where acupuncturists not only treated the TMD but treated all aspects of the patient, suggested that it may provide greater improvement than western medical interventions4. This means that the comprehensive evaluation used in acupuncture, whereby a patient is treated according to their constitution as well as the TMD symptomology, may find greater benefit than if only the symptoms of the TDM were treated in isolation.
Our Acupuncturist – Michael Amador McFarlane:
Michael Amador McFarlane is a registered acupuncturist with the College & Association of Acupuncturists of Alberta. Trained in Canada and China, Michael provides treatments in both traditional Chinese and orthopedic acupuncture. Traditional Chinese needles are applied to specific meridian or organ system points, to stimulate healing. In orthopedic acupuncture needles are applied to muscle motor points to alleviate pain and tension. He also offers Cupping Therapy, in which glass or silicone cups are attached to the body with suction. Some of the most common issues Michael addresses includes, but is not limited to: pain, insomnia, infertility, headaches/migraines, anxiety and gastrointestinal problems.
¹Prevalence of TMJD and its Signs and Symptoms. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/data-statistics/facial-pain/prevalence
² Johansson A, Wennberg B, Wagersten C, Haraldson T. Acupuncture in treatment of facial muscular pain. Acta Odontol Scand. 1991;49:153-158.
³Bergström I, List T, Magnusson T. A follow-up study of subjective symptoms of temporomandibular disorders in patients who received acupuncture and/or interocclusal appliance therapy 18-20 years earlier. Acta Odontol Scand. 2008;66(2):88-92. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18446549
4 Ritenbaugh, C., Hammerschlag, R., Calabrese, C., Mist, S., Aickin, M., Sutherland, E., . . . Dworkin, S. F. (2008, June). A pilot whole systems clinical trial of traditional Chinese medicine and naturopathic medicine for the treatment of temporomandibular disorders. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2756304/