5 Ways That Acupuncture Can Relieve TMJ Pain

by Ni Nan Gilbert, L.Ac. on July 8, 2019

TMJ Pain Relief In Bellmore, NY - Ni Nan Healing Art Center

What Is TMJ?

If you wake up with sore teeth, jaw or neck pain, or if your jaw pops or clicks, you may have TMJ issues. Your TMJ, or temporomandibular joint is the small joint located in front of your ears and connects your lower jaw to your skull. Whenever you talk, eat, or open your mouth for any other reason, you’re engaging this workhorse of a joint.

Unfortunately, your TMJ can become injured, inflamed, or misaligned, causing you a variety of symptoms. Some of the most common are facial pain, pain in the joint, neck and shoulder pain, jaw clenching, sensitive teeth, and frequent headaches, especially in the morning. TMJ problems can arise from a number of causes, such as a traumatic injury to your jaw, whiplash, arthritis, or your teeth being misaligned. However, the most common source of TMJ problems comes from grinding or clenching your teeth.

Tooth grinding or clenching is an unconscious reaction to stress. Clenching can occur during the day, but it most frequently happens at night, and is the reason why so many people are unaware that they’re clenching their teeth. It’s only after they have woken with a headache, sore facial muscles, or sensitive teeth that they realize that something occurred while they were asleep. While stress may be the cause of clenching, your masseter muscle provides the means. Your masseter muscle is a tiny but powerful muscle found at the lower corner of your jaw, and controls the action of your TMJ. When you become stressed, this muscle becomes tight causing you to clench or grind your teeth.

If you have TMJ issues, you may want to check in with your dentist. Your dentist can check and adjust your bite (how your teeth fit together) and make you a bite guard to protect your teeth at nighttime. They may also offer you some commonsense suggestions, such as avoiding chewing gum, dense chewy foods, and foods that require you to open wide.

Acupuncture may also be a good place to start if your TMJ is causing symptoms. Many patients have found that working with an acupuncturist to treat their TMJ is effective for a variety of reasons. Among them:

  1. Acupuncture relieves pain. Researchers have found that acupuncture treatments bump up the circulation of endorphins in your brain, which are neurotransmitters that relieve pain and improve your sense of well-being.

  2. This release of endorphins is also effective for stress, which is frequently an underlying cause of TMJ issues associated with tooth clenching and grinding.

  3. Acupuncture decreases inflammation. Where the needles are placed locally, acupuncture increases the circulation of inflammation-fighting white blood cells. In addition, there are several acupuncture points in and around your TMJ, jaw, and masseter muscle, which are good targets for inflammation relief.

  4. Your circulation is increased through acupuncture, which brings blood and nutrients to the joint and surrounding areas, which supports the healing process.

  5. Acupuncture also helps to loosen tight muscles, which is especially important when it comes to tooth clenching and grinding.

The bottom line is that you don’t have to live your life with the symptoms and pain associated with TMJ issues. Doing what it takes to reduce your stress, checking in with your dentist, and working with a skilled practitioner of acupuncture is a good way to get the relief you need.

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Lack Of Sleep Can Lead To Various Health Problems

by Ni Nan Gilbert, L.Ac. on June 15, 2019

Natural Remedies For Insomnia In Bellmore, NY - Ni Nan Healing Art Center

Causes Of Insomnia

If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re not alone. More than one third of American adults get less than the seven hours of sleep recommended to maintain overall health and well-being. While insomnia is a primary reason that many people don’t get enough sleep, there are a number of other factors that can keep you from getting a full night of peaceful slumber. Among them are shift work, caffeine or alcohol intake, jet lag, stress, pain conditions, medication side effects, and pets.

Chronic lack of sleep can raise your risk for a wide variety of health problems. People who short change their sleep are at greater risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. In addition about 90 percent of people who don’t sleep enough also have one or more other health problems. Sleeplessness can aggravate depression, decrease your sex drive, and affect the hormones that regulate hunger and appetite, making you more prone to weight gain.

While you sleep, your body is rejuvenating itself, and so is your mind. Your brain consolidates memories while you’re sleeping, so a lack of sleep can affect your memory. This may translate into poor attention span, lack of concentration, and decreased alertness. As a result, people who are sleepy are at an increased risk for accidents. On the job, workers who don’t get enough sleep are 70 percent more likely to be involved in accidents than their well-rested counterparts. And lack of sleep was a factor in some of the world’s largest industrial accidents, including the Exxon Valdez oil spill and nuclear reactor meltdowns at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

While there are a number of causes of sleeplessness, insomnia can be the most frustrating. You may put in the hours in bed, but still not get the sleep you need. And not all insomnia is created equal; you may struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, wake in the early hours long before your alarm goes off, or not get to sleep all night long.

Acupuncture For Insomnia

While many people take prescription medications to help them get a good night’s sleep, some balk at habitually having to take something to sleep every night. For that reason, many sleepy people have turned to acupuncture for help, and for a good reason. In a review of 46 studies on treating insomnia with acupuncture, researchers found that acupuncture was more effective that medications in increasing sleep duration.

There are a number of reasons that acupuncture can help you get a good night’s sleep. It stimulates the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for the surge of sleepiness that you get before bedtime. Acupuncture also increases the circulation of endorphins in your brain, which help to decrease anxiety, relieve stress, and help balance your mood. As a result, acupuncture is relaxing, helps to stimulate the onset of sleep, reduces episodes of sleep disruptions, and can relieve pain conditions that may be waking you at night.

If you struggle with sleep and decide to go the acupuncture route, your practitioner will take into account your sleep issues and health history, and then develop a treatment plan specific to your unique needs. In addition to acupuncture, they may incorporate an herbal prescription, dietary recommendations, or lifestyle modifications for the best results.

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Postpartum Depression Is Very Real, Don’t Wait To Reach Out For Help

May 11, 2019

What Is Postpartum Depression? The arrival of a new baby brings with it a number of changes. During the first few months after the birth, it’s common for new mothers to experience a low-grade feeling of sadness or letdown, called the Baby Blues. However for some women, the feeling of sadness is deeper and more […]

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The Reason Why More People Are Turning To Acupuncture For Shoulder Pain Relief

April 22, 2019

Shoulder pain can affect your lifestyle in ways you’ve never thought about. You may not realize how much you use your shoulders in everyday activities such as dressing, eating, and brushing your hair until you have a shoulder issue that makes it almost impossible to do these things without pain. Sadly, shoulder problems are on […]

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People Who Are Struggling With Anxiety Have Been Turning To Acupuncture For Treatment

March 7, 2019

What Is Anxiety? Anxiety is a part of our built-in survival mechanism. It’s appropriate to feel a certain amount of anxiousness when you’re driving in a snowstorm or giving a speech to a large group. However, if you’re anxious for no apparent reason, find anxiety is taking over your life, or experiencing panic attacks, your […]

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Could Acupuncture be the Answer for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

February 11, 2019

Whenever I see a bank teller or cashier wearing a wrist brace, my first thought is that they’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. The nature of their work is repetitious and can be hard on their wrists and hands, and carpal tunnel syndrome is a common result. What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Carpal tunnel syndrome […]

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