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In This Issue:

Acupuncture and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD)
Sciatic Pain & Treatment Options

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October 2014

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Acupuncture and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD)

Dr. Tara Brown, (Hon) BA Kin, DC, ARTŪ, D.Ac
dr tara brownDoctor of Chiropractic
Active Release Techniques, Acupuncture & Graston Technique Provider

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is where the lower jaw (mandible) connects to the skull (temporal bone). This joint along with the muscles surrounding it allow us to open and close the mouth for talking, chewing and yawning.

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD), or temporomandibular disorders (TMD), occur when the joint and surrounding muscles which open and close the mouth become imbalanced or damaged. TMD can involve both the hard and soft tissue structures of the TMJ (i.e., joint surfaces, capsule, articular disc, ligaments, and muscles). The jaw and TMJ can also be affected by tension or strain in the muscles of the neck and shoulders. Other causes of TMD include whiplash and neck injury, bruxism (grinding of the teeth), clenching of the teeth, arthritis in the TMJ, and stress.

TMD is 1.5 to 2 times more prevalent in women than in men. The highest occurrence in women is between 20-40 years of age.  

Symptoms of TMD may include one or multiple symptoms:

  • Pain or discomfort (ranging from mild to severe) in the face, TMJ area, neck, shoulders, and ear
  • Pain often worsened by chewing, talking, and/or opening the mouth
  • Clicking, popping or grating with opening/closing
  • Mechanical restrictions (i.e., limited jaw opening capacity, and deviations in movement)
  • Locking or sticking in jaw, affecting both open and closed positions
  • Facial swelling
  • Headache
  • Neck stiffness

While there are numerous ways to effectively treat TMD, acupuncture has been shown in several studies to be very effective and relatively safe. One study found that subjects receiving acupuncture experienced significant decreases in jaw pain, jaw/face tightness, and neck pain (Shen et. al., 2009). In a 2012 study, subjects experienced significant improvements including decreased pain, increased strength, and improved mouth opening (Vincente-Barrero et. al., 2012).

Another study performed in 2012, where acupuncture needles were directed specifically at the external pterygoid muscle (a jaw muscle related to TMD), found a significant improvement in pain and functional limitation, which persisted up to 6 months after finishing treatment (Gonzalez-Perez et. al., 2012).

The number of acupuncture treatments a person may need is dependent on the chronicity and severity of the condition. A more mild condition may resolve in four treatments, while a chronic condition may require more. Generally, six acupuncture treatments are recommended to start. While these treatments lead to decreased pain and improved function, long-term treatment and management may be needed in order to maintain and prevent further complications. Other factors contributing to TMD, such as posture, diet, dental work, and decreasing stress levels may also need to be discussed and modified in order to help prevent reoccurrence in the future.


Please call us at 905.465.4595 for more information and to book your appointment.

For pricing information please click here.

Gonzalez-Perez, L., Infante-Cossio, P., Granados-Nuñez, M., & Urresti-Lopez, F. (2012). Treatment of temporomandibular myofascial pain with deep dry needling. Medicina Oral, Patología Oral Y Cirugía Bucal, 17(5), e781-e785. Shen, Y., Younger, J., Goddard, G., & Mackey, S. (2009). Randomized clinical trial of acupuncture for myofascial pain of the jaw muscles. Journal Of Orofacial Pain, 23(4), 353-359. Vicente-Barrero, M., Yu-Lu, S., Zhang, B., Bocanegra-Pérez, S., Durán-Moreno, D., López-Márquez, A., & … Limiñana-Cañal, J. (2012). The efficacy of acupuncture and decompression splints in the treatment of temporomandibular joint pain-dysfunction syndrome. Medicina Oral, Patología Oral Y Cirugía Bucal, 17(6), e1028-e1033.



Sciatic Pain & Treatment Options

Diane Deinstadt, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist

Diane DeinstadtLately, I have had a number of clients coming to see me complaining of low back and leg pain. This is commonly known as sciatic pain. Sciatic pain can occur when the sciatic nerve is compromised anywhere along its length by inflammation, disc swelling, or muscle compression.

The pain can be caused by trauma, such as a blow to the buttocks, falling, stopping oneself from falling, or a motor vehicle accident. More often it occurs due to prolonged sitting, spinning, biking, or walking. It can also be a result of poor posture. Any of these things can cause the muscle to tighten and exert pressure on the nerve. It also occurs quite commonly in pregnancy.

I have had a lot of success treating this condition. The treatment consists of a thorough massage of the low back, the gluteals, and the legs. As always, both sides are treated even when the pain is one-sided. This ensures any compensatory changes are treated as well as any problems that may have been masked by the overriding pain and could be contributing to the problem.

Deep pressure is often used and the treatment can be painful. Ideally the treatment would be done twice a week for a few weeks and then once a week for four to six weeks. There are also stretches and home exercises that can be done and postural changes may also be recommended. Chiropractic care may be suggested as a complimentary treatment and orthotics are sometimes recommended.

Chances of recovery are good when all the recommendations are followed.


Please call us at 905.465.4595 for more information and to book your appointment.

For pricing information please click here.



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