If you have TMJ problems, you know how painful it can be. Your TMJs (temporomandibular joints) connect your upper jaw and lower jaw. They enable you to comfortably chew, talk, and yawn when they’re functioning normally. However, when TMJs become inflamed, strained, and tense – the pain can be extraordinary.
I’m a board-certified Orofacial Pain/TMJ specialist, and as such, I have many techniques and treatments at my disposal to help patients who are suffering. They include exercises, medications, oral appliances, relaxation techniques, and sometimes, injections.
The goal of TMJ treatment is long-term healing. However, when TMJ pain makes life unbearable, I often use one of the following types of injections for short-term relief.
4 Types Of Injections for TMJ Pain Relief and Face and Jaw Pain
1. Trigger Point Injections for TMJ Pain Relief
Trigger point injections are often used to address severe muscle pain problems in the jaw, head, and neck. Some people believe they provide pain relief because of the local anesthetic used in the process. However, the true benefit achieved by trigger point injections is the result of mechanical needling.
The mechanical needling process, often called dry needling, has the potential to release muscle tension and guarding, break up knots, and short-circuit the transmission of pain-irritated nerves. The local anesthetic I mentioned above, when used, is injected into the muscles toward the end of the needling process. It can diminish pain in the short term and reduce soreness the following day, as well.
Trigger point injections for TMJ pain relief need to be repeated several times in 3-6 week intervals. During that time, together, we work to uncover why your muscles are in trouble in the first place so you can avoid it in the future. Learn more here.
2. Botox Injections for TMJ Pain Relief
Botox and other neurotoxins have become a popular way to reduce jaw pain and associated limitations in jaw function in patients who suffer from TMJ. It works by limiting the ability of a muscle to reach its maximum contraction potential because when a muscle can no longer contract aggressively, it will receive additional blood supply and oxygen. And that gives it the opportunity to heal.
Botox injections for TMJ pain relief can diminish the impact of tooth grinding and clenching and reduce the severity of headaches because the chemical can modify the transmission of pain by nerves.
I mostly choose Botox injections for TMJ pain relief when other treatments have failed. Botox injections in the jaw will not change your facial expression or your ability to smile or chew when properly administered. If you’re considering Botox, it’s critical to choose a practitioner with training and years of experience.
You can find more information about Botox injections for TMJ pain relief here.
3. Prolotherapy for TMJ Pain Relief
Prolotherapy injections are designed to initiate or support the rehabilitation of an incompetent or injured joint, ligament or tendon. The basic principle behind prolotherapy is this: a substance such as dextrose, a form of sugar, is injected into the affected area. The substance causes a low-grade inflammatory process which, in turn, draws in healing cells. Because the process can strengthen the attachments of tendons and ligaments, it is often a choice to relieve pain. Prolotherapy injections are typically repeated three times in 4-6 week intervals.
4. Steroid Injections For TMJ Pain Relief
Steroid injections are used to reduce the persistent pain caused by tissues that are inflamed. Inflammation in the jaw can be caused by a sprain, arthritis, or ligament problems. While steroid injections do not fix the problem, they can ease the inflammation associated with them.
If you have TMJ problems, they are likely the result of repetitive behaviors such as teeth grinding and clenching, nail-biting, gum chewing, etc., that are putting a tremendous amount of stress on your jaw muscles. Providing injections for TMJ pain relief is just one of the ways I work to help my patients heal and….feel better.
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