In my practice I work with patients who suffer from facial pain, tight jaws, headaches (of a muscle or migraine variety), neck pain, or a combination of two or three symptoms. Some of my patients are poor sleepers and many of them grind and clench their teeth at night, resulting in problems with the TMJ (temporomandibular joint). But what most of these patients have in common is an extraordinarily high level of stress due to tension at work, overwhelming financial burdens, caring for aging parents, and more.
Sound familiar to you? Read on:
The logical way to reduce stress would be to make some big changes in your life, right? But that’s no simple task, if it’s possible at all. Unfortunately, when you live with stress over a long period of time your brain can become either fatigued, upset, or both. In this state you are more likely to develop physical ailments associated with the muscles of the head, neck and jaw. This perpetual state of mind-body imbalance can result in unhappy muscles resulting in facial pain, stiffness, spasms, limited head or jaw motion, and/or frequent muscle or migraine headaches.
The question then becomes “Are there treatment strategies that deal with the source of unhappy muscles instead of merely dealing with the end result?” This is where Transcendental Meditation (TM) comes in. Though it is far from being the only technique that addresses brain fatigue and upset, there is increasing scientific evidence that suggests that TM can help achieve mind-body balance.
How does TM work to ease TMJ symptoms and headaches?
The practice of TM promotes restful alertness of the mind. When you are in a restful alertness state there is improvement in the coordinated functioning of all parts of your brain (called EEG Coherence). EEG Coherence means that brain is operating in its most efficient way. In this state there is synchronization of the many types of brain waves communicating with your organ systems, and your organs are communicating in synchronization with your brain. When these communication pathways work well, muscles and joints are under a lower level of strain, they fatigue less, and they function more smoothly and easily.
Over time, people who practice TM report less pain, decreased strain, and more comfort in their face, jaw, neck and head.
As a doctor whose specialty is treating pain I will always have patients who need prescriptions, muscle or joint injections, oral appliances, exercises, rehabilitation and other relaxation strategies. But I now strongly advise all my patients to consider making Transcendental Meditation a part of their daily routine. So far, the feedback from my patients who practice TM is very encouraging.
After a consultation in my office I can refer you to one of the TM centers that I work with; sometimes even enabling you to receive a lowered fee to be trained.
Do you practice TM? Please feel free to share your experience here: