Trigger points are painful areas that can develop in your muscles when they’ve been in a highly tense state over a period of time. Trigger point injections for TMJ problems are used to reduce pain in your jaw muscles, including your masseter and temporalis muscles – which are responsible for bringing your teeth together.
Trigger point injections for TMJ problems are also beneficial in relieving pain in upper neck muscles, such as your trapezius.
Overuse Behaviors Can Result In TMJ Pain
If you suffer from pain in your masseters or other jaw muscles, the origin may be daytime overuse behaviors. Nail biting, tooth clenching and gum chewing are examples of daytime overuse behavior.
The result can be increased levels of muscle soreness and inflammation.
Logically, the key to reducing the pain caused by daytime overuse behaviors would be to simply stop the behaviors. However, these behaviors are soothing for many people, and for others, they don’t even realize they’re doing it until problems arise.
TMJ Pain Can Be Much Worse During Stressful Times
In times of extreme stress such as family illnesses, work conflicts, relationship turmoil and isolation, such as during the recent pandemic, daytime overuse behaviors often become more frequent. Stopping the behaviors in the presence of these factors is difficult – and can’t happen overnight.
In the interim, trigger point injections for TMJ can offer some relief and help jump-start the process of getting better.
TMJ pain can also result from teeth clenching, grinding and excessive jaw muscle activity while you’re asleep. Nighttime overuse behaviors are referred to as sleep bruxism.
Sleep bruxism activity can also lead to TMJ pain. The origins of sleep bruxism are still not well understood, difficult to treat, and hard to turn off. If your dentist recommended a night guard to use while you’re sleeping, you might notice, during stressful times, that it’s not doing much to control pain. In this scenario, trigger point injections may be something to consider.
Trigger point injections for TMJ pain relief need to be repeated several times in 3-6 week intervals. During that time, efforts need to be made to uncover why your muscles got in trouble in the first place.
What Are Trigger Point Injections?
Trigger point injections involve what’s called mechanical needling. Mechanical needling, also referred to as dry needling, often releases the muscle tension and guarding that is causing your pain. It sort of short-circuits the transmission of pain from nerves that are irritated.
Many people believe that the local anesthetic used in the injection process is why trigger point injections can often provide pain relief. However, the local anesthetic comes in near the end and is used to diminish pain in the short term and reduce the soreness that often occurs the next day.
The Benefits Of Trigger Point Injections For TMJ
Trigger point injections are a valuable tool in the arsenal of TMJ doctors because:
● They are often effective if other pain treatments have failed
● They can be a complement to other ongoing pain relief therapies
● The pain relief can be long-lasting
● It’s a simple, in-office procedure
● They cause few if any, complications
If you or someone you care about is suffering from TMJ, jaw pain, or facial pain and is in the New York City or Long Island area, feel free to call my office for a consultation at 212-265-0110