What is TMJ and Jaw Pain?

TMJ stands for Temperomandibular Joint Disorder. If you experience clenching, grinding, popping, clicking of the jaw, pain when you chew, frequent headaches or neck pain, you may have TMJ.

How does Acupuncture help?

Portrait of a young woman touching her face, close-up

Acupuncture can target the root cause of the condition by balancing the mind and body, and helping to reset the neuromuscular tension in the jaw. Acupuncture not only relaxes the targeted muscles in the jaw, it decreases the overall stress level in the body.

A recent British study of 70 cases of dental patients receiving acupuncture for TMJ indicated that 85% of patients benefited with an average reduction in pain intensity of 75%. A 2008 study reported high long-term patient satisfaction and improvement of symptoms 18 to 20 years following acupuncture.

At AcuCare, we have had a 95% success rate in treating TMJ patients. Within 3-5 sessions, the majority of patients experience significant relief. Dentists throughout the lower mainland send their patients with these complains to AcuCare, knowing that they will be well looked after and that they will get the relief they seek.

What patients are saying…..

“I’ve had severe TMJ pain for the past 8 years. I visited chiropractors, RMTs, and orthodontists, but nothing seemed to work. After only two visits to Julie, I felt immediate relief! My painful headaches, neck aches, and jaw stiffness were gone. I finally have my life back!”

“I’ve had TMJ since highschool but my symptoms had gotten worse a few months ago. I was experiencing a lot of pain, soreness, and tightness in my jaw and wasn’t able to fully open my mouth. After a few appointments and night guard adjustments with my dentist, I had a consultation with Julie upon my Dentist’s referral. After only a couple of appointments, I started to feel significant relief from my TMJ symptoms. It was like Julie “unlocked” my jaw. After six acupuncture sessions, my jaw has never felt better and completely back to normal. Julie is wonderful, caring and knowledgable! I’m now a firm believer of the benefits of Acupuncture. Thank you, Julie!” Lisa L

“For years I have dealt with TMJ. I started to see Julie, and her treatments have made a world of difference.Thank you so much!” Mary M

“I started seeing Julie for treatment of jaw pain about 2 years ago due to clenching triggered by stress. At that time I was experiencing 2-3 migraines a month and often a dull ache that was hard to cope with. The multiple doses of Motrin I was taking wasn’t working any more. I was so surprised when I left my first appointment with Julie and I could feel a difference in my jaw. I had been living with this pain for so long I had forgotten what normal felt like. I continued with treatments and soon graduated to “tune ups”. I highly recommend Julie’s acupuncture services. I have found her to be sensitive and the treatments are highly effective, no matter the concern. My visits are always relaxing and along with my G.P Julie is a part of my “wellness team”.” Lisa C

TMJ and Jaw Pain FAQ:

Is there modern research on how Acupuncture helps TMJ?

Modern research has revealed scientific reasons why acupuncture is a successful therapy. In the 1970s, reports appeared in Western medical literature suggesting that acupuncture reduces pain sensation through direct stimulation of the nerve, which changes the quality of signaling along nerve cells.

In fact, research suggests that acupuncture may suppress the nociceptive trigeminal nucleus caudalis and spinal dorsal horn neurons via modulation of the release of neuropeptides and neurotransmitters.

  • Sheng LL, Nishiyama K, Honda T, et.al. Suppressive effects of Neiting acupuncture on toothache: an experimental analysis on Fos expression evoked by tooth pulp stimulation in the trigeminal subnucleus pars caudalis and the periaqueductal gray of rats. Neurosci Res. 2000;38:331-339.
  • Zhao CH, Stillman MJ, Rozen TD. Traditional and evidence-based acupuncture in headache management: theory, mechanism, and practice. Headache. 2005;45:716-730


Does Acupuncture eliminate the structural imbalances of the jaw?

While acupuncture therapy may not eliminate the cause of TMD resulting from structural anomalies, such as degenerative changes and disc displacement, acupuncture can help relieve the pain and discomfort associated with the conditions. It has been documented that acupuncture can help muscle relaxation and reduce muscle spasms, if the spasms are muscular in origin.15 Acupuncture can also help minimize TMJ “clicking” by relaxing the lateral pterygoid muscles, and thereby reducing the anterior displacing force on the meniscus of the TMJ.

  • Wong LB. Acupuncture in dentistry: a systematic review. Proc Singapore Healthcare. 2012;21(1):432-448.