TMJ Syndrome (Temporomandibular Joint)
The temporomandibular joint connects the jawbone to the skull. When it is
functioning properly, the bones of the joint allow the mouth to open
smoothly and easily. Sometimes, however, there is a misalignment of the
teeth or the jaw. In more serious cases, the cartilage that protects the
joint wears down. Without cartilage to act as a cushion, the bones rub
against each other.
TMJ can be caused by anything that places unusual pressure on the joint. A
blow to the jawbone, habitual gum chewing, or poor orthodontic work are all
possible factors. But by far the most frequent cause of TMJ is frequent
grinding or clenching of the teeth. This seemingly benign habit is usually
brought on by stress that causes muscles in the jaw to tighten. Another
common underlying cause of TMJ is a structural misalignment of the jaw or
teeth (called malocclusion by doctors and dentists) or the cranial or
facial bones can be involved. In addition, imbalanced musculature and
spinal alignment in other areas of the body can be an underlying root cause
of TMJ syndrome. Finally, deficiencies of nutrients such as magnesium can
make this problem worse, because muscles tend to spasm and tighten more
No matter what the cause, TMJ is at best uncomfortable and at worst almost
unbearably painful. The first sign of a problem may be difficulty opening
the mouth all the way or perhaps a popping or clicking sound when yawning
or chewing. As the disorder progresses, the jaw muscles will begin to feel
tender. This tenderness may develop into an ache or sharp pain, which can
spread to the neck, the ears, or the face.
A note of caution:
Despite what some doctors or dentists may tell you, TMJ syndrome is real.
But there have been many reports of unscrupulous professionals touting
"miracle" cures for TMJ in the form of expensive and invasive treatments,
including surgery. Before you undergo any aggressive measures, try the
gentle home care and relaxation therapies suggested here. Chances are that
they'll bring you substantial, if not total, relief. If you try these
therapies and still have a great deal of pain, consult with a reputable,
qualified specialist-and always, ask for a full explanation of any
procedure before you agree to it. Many naturopathic, osteopathic, or
chiropractic physicians can help people with TMJ syndrome, using
nonsurgical techniques. Acupuncture can also be quite helpful, as can
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of
effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when
taking any and all supplements.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements shown to help TMJ Syndrome:
Prescription for Natural Cures
James F. Balch
Super Prescription #1
- LifeSource Product -
Take 200 mg two to three times daily.
This mineral relaxes the nervous system
and the musculature around the jaw.
Note: Reduce the dosage if loose stools
Super Prescription #2
Calcium / Magnesium
– LifeSource Products -
See All of our Cal/Mag Products. Take
600 mg twice daily. It works
synergistically with magnesium to relax
tight muscles. If taking calcium, this
should cover both Calcium and Magnesium
at the same time.
Super Prescription #3
- Herb Product -
Take a standardized product containing
70 mg of kavalactones three times
daily. Kava relaxes the nervous system
and tight muscles. It is also very good
for stress and anxiety. Note: Do not
take with alcohol or any psychiatric
Super Prescription #4
MSM – Methylsulfonylmethane
– LifeSource Product -
Take 1,000 mg three times daily. MSM
reduces muscle spasms and inflammation.
Super Prescrition #5: Homeopathic
Take 3 pellets of the 6x potency three
times daily. This remedy relaxes tight
Super Prescription #6
Vitamin B Complex
- LifeSource Products –
See All of our Vitamin B Products. Take
a 50 mg complex twice daily to reduce
the effects of stress.
Super Prescription #7
- LifeSource Product -
Take 3 ml or 300 mg three times daily
to reduce the effects of stress and
relax tight muscles.
Click here to see all products,
articles and studies for TMJ
Clicking, popping, or grating noises when chewing or opening the mouth
Difficulty opening the mouth all the way
Stiffness, tenderness, or pain in the jaw
An asymmetrical appearance to the face
Ringing in the ear
Tooth grinding or clenching (usually, the result of stress or a
Misalignment of the teeth or the jaw
Poor orthodontia or dental work
Injuries to the jaw
Muscle and spinal alignment imbalance
Nutritional deficiencies (e.g., magnesium, calcium)
If your TMJ syndrome is acute, eat foods that require less chewing or that
are not as hard to chew. Examples include soups, stews, steamed or cooked
vegetables, and protein shakes. Focus on foods that will stabilize your
blood-sugar levels. Vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds, soy
products, and fish should be the mainstays of your diet. Instead of eating
three large meals, plan on five or six smaller ones through the day. You'll
keep your blood sugar in balance and won't be tempted to snack on sweet
Foods to Avoid
Avoid sugary foods like candy, chocolate, sodas, and most baked goods. They
disturb blood-sugar levels and contribute to stress.
Stay away from caffeine, which causes muscles to tighten. Tea and coffee
are obviously sources of caffeine, but chocolate, some pain-relievers, and
over-the-counter cold medications have high amounts as well.
Alcohol has been linked to teeth-grinding. Although a drink or two may seem
like a good way to relax, herbal teas are a much wiser choice for people
Don't chew anything that's hard on your jaw. Gum, caramels, bagels, animal
meats, and hard or gooey candy are off-limits.
Go on a one- to three-day juice fast to cleanse your body of excess sugars.
Support your fast with broths, herbal teas, and vegetable juices. If you
must have some fruit juice, dilute it with water first.
Glucosamine sulfate builds cartilage. Take 1,500 mg daily if you have
cartilage deterioration in the TMJ.
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