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Chiropractic Research Review

Managing TMJ Disorders with Chinese Medicine

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, a complex condition characterized by the study author as unilateral head pain in the temporal region and jaw, limitation of jaw movement, bruxism (clenching and grinding of the teeth) and malocclusion (misalignment), can lead to considerable pain and distress.



This article presents a traditional Chinese medical strategy designed to control and correct the disability associated with TMJ dysfunction, and provides step-by-step suggestions for clinical application, including:

* acupuncture at local/distal acupoints and acupressure (especially at acupoints on the ear) to control TM joint pain;

* lateral, midline and medial manipulation (in the form of pressing, rotating, pushing and lifting) to properly align the TM joint;

* post-alignment TMJ reinforcement by way of manual/massage techniques.

A traditional Chinese medicine approach involving acupuncture, manipulation and massage may be an effective noninvasive procedure in simple cases of TMJ dysfunction. Clinicians considering this type of intervention should first rule out other abnormalities of the masticatory system, such as dental/periodontal problems, neuralgia, craniofacial injuries, modalities of headache, and systemic diseases.

Aung SK. The treatment of temporomandibular joint dysfunction and distress: a Chinese traditional medicinal approach utilizing acupuncture, massage and manipulation. American Journal of Acupuncture, 1996;24, pp255-68.

Chiropractic Research Review

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