The experience of 16 years old female
The headache suddenly started when she was an elementary school student and was acute pain like temples were pressed. The headache lasted for 10-20 minutes but stopped if rested. The headache became more frequent and intensive when she was a junior high school student and it disturbed her school life. When she became a high school student, she needed pain medication every time she had the headache. The cause of the headache was discovered at a dentist where she had a part-time job.
The cause was Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD), which causes pain in the muscles that move the jaw or restricted movement of the jaw such as the difficulty of opening the mouth wide. It is thought to be caused by arthritis, clenching or grinding the teeth or stress, but the exact cause is difficult to determine. Females between 20 and 40 are affected more.
In her case, it is thought that malocclusion of the teeth put a burden on the muscles from the jaw to the head, which was connected to the trigeminal nerves, resulting in the intensive headache.
TMJ disorder can lead to pain and numbness in the shoulder, hands and feet or the whole body, or sometimes causes depression if proper treatment is not provided.
The patient was in her late 30s, a dentist who had been suffering from pain in her right jaw and couldn’t close her mouth completely due to the pain for about 3 months.
She came to see me because she would have a PT appointment in 2 weeks but she couldn't wait for it. She thought acupuncture could reduce the pain by any chance because she had an experience that her neck pain disappeared after she had had one treatment in my acupuncture clinic before. She didn’t have any other particular symptoms.
After 4 acupuncture treatments, she was able to open and close her mouth without any pain. All the treatments were done with none-insertion needles.
Detail of Acupuncture Treatment
(1st Tx) I diagnosed her as Kidney deficiency and there was Fast pulse, so I tonified right ST37 with Yang technique. For the local treatment, I tonified her back and legs with the technique to tonify Yin, tapped tightness from between scapulas to BL18 with Teishin for Ja removal, and rubbed the whole back with Roller needle and Round needle. Laying her on her back again, I dispersed right LI3, left ST37 and around right ST7 (where is the jaw pain) with placing Teishin for Ja removal.
(2nd Tx) She said that after the last treatment, she could close her mouth but there was pain when clenching. In the root treatment, I changed the patterns from Kidney deficiency to Spleen deficiency and tonified right SP3 with Yang technique. The other treatment was almost the same as the last time though there were some changes in the points used.
(3rd Tx) The treatment was almost the same as the 2nd treatment.
(4th Tx) She said that there was no pain when opening and closing the mouth, and she had cancelled PT appointment. When I asked her to move her jaw to right and left, there was a little bit of pain when she moved her jaw to the right side. The root treatment was Kidney deficiency so I tonified KD7 with Yang technique. The local treatment was almost the same as other treatments. After the treatment, she didn’t feel any pain when she moved her jaw to the right side. I ended the series of treatments for the pain in her jaw, telling her to come back when she felt tightness in her jaws again.
Considerations: I think dispersion from the points where the pain in the jaw came from was effective. In my case I just placed Teishin for Ja Removal on the points where I felt stagnation of energy and waited until the stagnated energy was gone.
But the whole body treatment including Root treatment, and tonification and dispersion of the back were also important because after these treatment, it seemed like her jaw loosened and the pain in her jaw became about half without the direct treatment to the jaw.
Dispersion from the points on Yang meridians like ST and LI, where the pulse got better when I neared Ja removal needle, was also helpful.
In addition to the treatment, I gave her a homework using a penny and a nickel. I marked so-called Extraordinary vessel points and told her to tape the coins. She gave me a feedback about the homework. When she felt tightness in her jaw, she did this home therapy and she could feel loosening of the jaw right after taping the coins.
Cozy Acupuncture in Salem, MA specializes in Pain Management. If you are suffering from Jaw Pain or TMJ, we're here for you! Call Today to make an appointment: 617-584-8703 or Book now Online.
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