TMJ Syndrome (Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome)

Relief from TMJ Syndrome

Our Naturopathic Doctors consistently give relief from the symptoms of TMJ Disorder or syndrome.  If you think you have tried everything for TMJ syndrome and have not seen improvement, come join the numerous others who have experienced relief from TMJ syndrome.

Our Naturopathic Doctors have been trained in several very specialized treatments that go beyond the typical mouth guard for TMJ symptoms.  Our doctors work mainly by correcting the muscular imbalances that lead to excessive tension on the joint and ultimately the painful inflammation and degeneration of the TMJ.

One of the special jewels that you will take home from a visit with our Naturopathic Doctors is a little known technique that you can perform on yourself to experience immediate relief from tension in your jaw and other symptoms of TMJ syndrome.

Most Common Cause of TMJ Syndrome Seen in Our Clinic

TMJ is actually the abbreviation for the Temporomandibular Joint. This joint is where the jaw bone (mandibular bone) connects to the skull(temporal bone). Excessive tension in the region can cause improper glide of the joint and result in popping or clicking or even pain. The pain can range from mild to severe and can be a cause of headaches, sleep disturbances, and teeth grinding. These set of symptoms combine together to be called a syndrome-TMJS.

The following in an excerpt from the Doctor who created one of the techniques we will use to help you get rid of TMJ pain, Pain Neutralization Technique.

TMJ Syndrome : A New and Better Treatment

If you know what TMJ (Temporal mandibular Joint ) Syndrome is, than you probably have it. It is a misalignment of the muscles of the jaw. It can cause your teeth and gums to wear out at a younger age, and it can cause some or all of the following symptoms:

  • tight or painful jaw muscles
  • clenching the teeth at night
  • headaches
  • pain when eating
  • pain in the teeth
  • difficulty opening the mouth wide or swallowing
  • visual disturbances
  • neck pain
  • tight neck muscles
  • ear pain
  • clicking jaw
  • dizziness or vertigo
  • ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

The pain from TMJ Syndrome can be mild or very debilitating. Dentists sometimes treat it with orthopedic appliances that a patient must wear for a long time. Although this can help, it can be expensive, inconvenient, uncomfortable, and only partially effective. Some dentists may even recommend surgery or grinding down of teeth. These procedures are irreversible, and may leave a patient worse off than before! Our approach is completely different, and has absolutely no danger or chance of side effects.

I’m very happy to say that we can help most of the patients we see with TMJ disorders. We have worked with TMJ problems for 27 years and have developed an original and highly effective approach. It works quickly, is painless, and relatively inexpensive. We do not use any splints, grind the teeth down, put any materials in the patient’s mouth, require any exercises, or do any painful treatment. Our treatment consists of gently realigning the muscles of the mouth and jaw to allow them to get out of spasm and return to their normal position. Once this is done a few times the muscles tend to hold the jaw in the proper position, and the problem doesn’t usually come back. We do this by applying a number of very gentle techniques to the jaw muscles. Many patients see results and feel relief within 1-3 treatments! (We also have developed an acupuncture treatment that gives us even better results, although most of our patients get well without it.)

TMJ and Headaches

“Thank you for all your help. You help get me back on track with life. My TMJ was “killing” me and you seem to be the only one that could help it. Again, Thanks!—-Dr. Marc Lawson *

Depression, Headaches, Low Back Pain, PMS, Fatigue ,TMJ

“Thank you so much for all you have done for me. Although I originally sought your help for depression you have cured that and all my other chronic ailments as well. Even some I didn’t know about, like lack of concentration, headaches from computer use, and low back pain. I could go on and on. We were blessed to have you in San Diego.”—-Mary LaManor*

Knee pain, TMJ (jaw ) pain, migraines, fatigue

“I had a weak right knee, intermittent jaw pain, sore back in the morning, and migraine headaches. My knee is now much stronger, my jaw no longer locks and my migraines have disappeared. I used to get very drowsy mid-afternoon but no longer do.” “—-Ben Godfrey*

Severe TMJ pain

“I came to Dr. Kaufman because my right jaw was so sore my teeth couldn’t meet. This problem had persisted for 3-4 years. I have gotten much better with the applied kinesiological treatments.”—-Ruth Brandon*

TMJ, clicking jaw (TMJ), chronic fatigue syndrome, headaches

“Before seeing Dr. Kaufman, I had fatigue, headaches, infertility and a clicking jaw for years. I’ve had no headaches since treatment started. My energy level has greatly improved, and my jaw is not clicking. My sleep is much better and I feel ‘awake’ in the morning. ”—-Karen Taylor*

TMJ Causing Pain In a Front Tooth

” I had a lot of pain in my upper front tooth. The dentist wanted to do a root canal, even though he couldn’t see an abscess on x ray. Dr. Kaufman treated my TMJ 2 or 3 times and the pain completely went away. This was 7 years ago, and I’ve never had any problems since. I never had the root canal, either. I would be happy to share my experience with anybody that wanted to call me.”——- Robert Raskin, Denver, CO.*

These have been testimonials for the Kaufman Technique for TMJ.

*The results described may very.  We cannot guarantee that you will experience the same results as this patient. We will help you understand the root cause and come up with a clear plan that will help you address the specifics that may be out of balance in your body.

The next excerpt is a relaxation technique from Dr. Grossan.

Dr. Grossan’s Ear, Nose and Throat Consultant Pages

Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ) Treatment: A Method that Works

Temperomandibular Pain Dysfunction Syndrome or TMJ symptoms are quite common. They include local joint pain, ear ache, headache, noises and pain when you chew, and various associated muscle pains. The ability to open the mouth wide may be limited. Ordinary chewing of food may be difficult.

In some patients it may be due to the teeth not being perfectly “straight”. Treatment is to get a good occlusion or bite. Problem is I see patients with the most perfect bite possible with TMJ, and see patients with terrible occlusion without TMJ symptoms.

In other patients I feel that it is the muscle imbalance that is of paramount importance. Correcting the bite may take care of the problem, using mirror biofeedback may also relieve the condition.

In TMJ, the person opens his mouth to the side, not in the midline. There may be a noise called crepitus. This is the sound made because the joints are swollen, or the membranes are worn away or displaced. This usually means that the muscles that guide the jaw are not functioning correctly, they aren’t balanced. Here correction of the bite is certainly desirable when this is the cause of the muscle imbalance. But there may be another causes. Often patients with TMJ express their stress by biting hard or gnashing their teeth. This may replace clenching the fist or sweating when tense. The more the discomfort the more they bite down or clench. The more they clench, the more the pain. The more the pain, the more the anxiety, the more they bite down, the more nervous and so on. In TMJ the person may grind his teeth in his sleep; this is most upsetting to the partner and to the dentist who has to repair the damage.

What is anxiety? The phone rings, “Hello!. Hi Bill! What’s new?” This is the normal discourse and daily life. But what if every time the phone rings,the jaw tightens, the pulse increases, you sweat, the blood vessels constrict, and the MUSCLES contract severely enough to cut off circulation and restrict blood flow. In your mind the phone may be identified as a threat – the mother in law, the landlord for his overdue rent, the hated boss, the threatening boy friend. It is one thing if it really is the threatening landlord, but suppose you get this reaction every time the phone rings or worse still all day long at any sound or call? Often, the body misidentifies the phone or the situation as a threat based on some past experience, real or imaginary. This is a state of anxiety and is bad for your health.

But all you have to do is be relaxed! How many times have you heard this? Before a performance on stage, or an interview, or an exam you are told to relax! We have all known a really smart student who knew all the answers but flunked the test because of anxiety. Maybe you could hardly answer at the job interview. You came out perspired and heart pounding.

Some patients build up an anxiety circle. The more they worry the more nervous they get The more nervous, the more they tense and affect the circulation. The more the tension, the worse the anxiety , the more nervous. Certain undesirable chemicals get built up. One way to stop this is to give huge doses of nerve pills. There are many objections to this of course.

Biofeedback works for these patients. In the 70’s I published the response of TMJ to biofeedback. (references) It worked in anxiety reinforcement patients – once that cycle was broken they lessened their symptoms significantly. This was successful in Tinnitus, Blood Pressure Elevation, Temperomandibular Joint, Headaches, Allergy, Asthma and many others. I reported 66% relief of TMJ using biofeedback alone. Other centers reported similar figures.

Biofeedback simply means that you are given information about your body so you can change it. Usually we hook up very sensitive sensors that record the electricity your muscles put out. The forehead is where the muscles show worry and anxiety. So we hook up there. There is a large dial that shows how much electricity your muscles are putting out. You use this information to lower the electricity – relax the muscle. You cannot have anxiety if the muscles are relaxed.

This is a method I have developed for my patients with TMJ. It is like biofeedback with the machines, except that here we use the mirror as a feedback mechanism. You can see when the face is relaxed, when the jaw opens correctly. My patients have done well following these 10 steps. But they are human, they forget, start skipping a day or so, and may return to the bad ways. By daily repetition the habit becomes a desirable one.

10 minutes a day is all it takes. Once you have learned the relaxation, you can do it without thinking.

Why is this different? If you surf the net you will find dozens of relaxation methods using breathing techniques. Some of them I can’t pronounce and some I can’t spell. You will find many “masters” and if you study with them for a length of time, you will be improved. These are OK, but in my practice I find that unless you are given the information as to when you are doing it RIGHT, it may not work. So, here we use the mirror as a biofeedback device to show you when you do it right.

Take a large mirror that you can stand or sit in front of. Draw a straight vertical line down the middle of the mirror. Please measure carefully to be sure the line is centered and vertical. Initially you can mark the middle of your forehead, nose, lip and chin in order to line up with the mirror’s line.

This method is based on:

  • using the breathing technique to direct the relaxation
  • using the mirror to tell you when you do it right
  • using the mirror to tell you when the jaw is in correct position
  • repetition that you can do daily at home.
  • the advantage of you being in charge yourself.
  • the body learns when it is using the muscles correctly and given this information will continue to do it right.

10 Steps:

One Breathe in 4. Concentrate on counting 4 on inhalation. This makes the breathing regular. Do this in front of the mirror.

Two Breathe out 6. Make exhalation longer than inhalation. Use the act of relaxing the diaphragm as you exhale to signal other muscles to relax. As you exhale, you chest, shoulders, rib muscles relax.

Three Breathe in count of 4 and out count of 6, as you exhale let this be a signal to relax. The actual time is not important as long as exhalation is longer than inhalation and you relax as you exhale. Feel an energy enter your body as you inhale.. Feel the tinnitus and tension leave your body as you exhale.

Four See the Face Relax. Look at your face in the mirror. Tighten your muscles. Now relax them. As you exhale let this be a signal to relax the facial muscles. After a while you won’t need the mirror.

Five See the jaw relax in the mirror. Note the position compared to the vertical line. Don’t open the jaw. Let it fall open as you relax, like when your dad fell asleep on the couch. For TMJ problems, you draw a straight vertical line on the mirror and line up your face to the midline to make sure your jaw opens in the midline and not to the side. For TMJ patients, once the jaw opens midline, the muscles are then balanced to relieve the condition.

Six See/feel the shoulders relax as you exhale. Think good energy, good air going into the chest and old used up air leaving the chest

Seven Recall a place where you felt relaxed, the beach, at the club, etc. Picture a rose or look at a picture of an object to remind you of this place. Be as relaxed as you were at this beach. Still breathe in 4 and out 6.

Eight Relax from toes on up. Toes, legs, tummy, chest, neck, eyes, forehead. Maintain the in 4 out 6 breathing count..

Nine Raise a finger. Do 3 breaths. At the third breath, drop your raised finger and when it touches, let that be a signal to relax. You may repeat this for a minute.

Ten Imagine going to a healing place. An island or a place famous for healing. So many people you know have been healed here. Imagine the trip. Do you go by boat or plane? Or even by magic carpet ! The water, food, music, air, scents, flowers, all help heal you. Imagine a guide to take you around. Make an image in your mind that here the tinnitus is reduced. You can image a golden light healing you, or the special bubbling spring that you bathe in. Be sure to use all senses. Image the flowers surrounding a clear crystal stream of delicious mountain water that is famous for healing. Imagine the guide explaining that there is a special mixture of elements in the water that act as a vitamin, etc. Again use all 5 senses, taste, feeling, smell, sight, hearing. See the flowers, smell them, touch them, hear the breeze blowing on them – imagine a musical note, even try tasting them.

In this place of healing it all comes together – the anxiety is better! Here when the phone rings or there is a disturbing sound, you aren’t bothered, your muscles remain relaxed. Here your receptors are wide open. You can suggest, imagine, feel yourself getting better. At the same time, because the receptors are open you can suggest whatever you wish to “improve” – I will skip the doughnut with my coffee – or I will only eat one slice of bread for lunch. These must be “minor” suggestions. You can also picture that here you will remember to relax whenever the signal of tinnitus comes on.

Later when you have done this awhile, let unwanted tight muscles act as a signal to relax to the healing place.

Important: now, whenever anxiety gets bothersome, simply imagine yourself in the healing place

Science has shown that when this imaging is done you can actually measure a difference in the person’s blood elements.

It is important to remember that when we speak of relaxation we mean muscle relaxation as when you look in the mirror and see the face relax.

Typically you would spend one minute doing the 10 steps and be done in 10 minutes. Or, you can do them separately during the day. Or you may find a routine that you do 10 times, the important thing is the constancy and repetition.

What will happen as you repeat this daily or every hour on the hour do a step, is that the annoyances that make for anxiety worse will have less effect. . The relaxation will “displace” the anxiety. You will be happy that you have learned a method to do yourself, you have taken control of the condition.

Although this works well in Temperomandibular Joint Problems, almost any anxiety – muscle problem such as neck or back may be benefited.

What has always amazed me is that giving a biofeedback treatment at 10 AM can cause someone to stop grinding his teeth in his sleep! What happens is that the body learns to do it right and this learning continues.

This is a program to use after a medical evaluation has shown that there isn’t a medical condition that needs to be treated.