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  • Writer's pictureCat Calhoun

TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

Popularly called TMJ, this joint disorder of the temporomandibular joint, is characterized by pain in the jaw, earaches, pain when chewing, facial or neck pain, stiff jaw muscles and a change in how the teeth fit together. Clicking and popping are common for sufferers of TMJ when they open their mouths or chew.

From a western medical standpoint, this can be caused by injury to the jaw or face, jaw dislocation, misaligned teeth or misaligned jaw, grinding the teeth and arthritis in the joint. In Chinese medicine this is often linked to anger held in the body.

Treatment options

Lifestyle changes! Obviously, address the anger! Anger needs to be released not repressed/denied/rehearsed. Teach the patient ways to release it. That could be through Tai Chi, yoga, Qigong, punching a pillow repeatedly, whatever. Anger often leads to stagnation of the Qi and that leads to depression. Treat the anger as well. I'd suggest the Mu 11.17 point to help with that, but this is really something that needs some lifestyle changes.

Cupping on the face This requires you to pick the timing well and inform the patient about what will happen. Because TMJ comes with stagnant energy, this is probably going to leave visible bruising. Use a small cup and do only one point at a time. I like to use my pneumatic cups for this. I find fire cupping on the face makes people a tad nervous! Use the 2nd to smallest or 2nd to largest cup. Do only one cup at a time, repeating until you work your way from temple to jaw and down to SCM. Do a few on the alternate side or it will probably spasm. Add needles to the cupping as detailed below.

Points to use

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