Some of the most widely-used essential oils for TMJ pain include lavender, chamomile, yarrow, rosemary, and eucalyptus. Each oil is said to promote different responses in the body.
While some purport to offer anti-inflammatory qualities, others are said to work as anti-depressants, detoxifiers, and analgesics.
What is TMJ?
TMJ stands for Temporal Mandibular Joint but the phrase is commonly used in reference to a condition affecting the joint. TMJ arises when the hinge connecting your jaws stops functioning properly.
This is among the most essential joints in your body and is crucial for the movement of the lower jaw backward, forward, and sideways. Any problem preventing this system of muscles, discs, bones, and ligaments from working is categorize as TMJ.
TMJ feels like the jaw is clicking, popping, or stuck. The cause of this kind of misalignment is hard to determine. While some experts associate this condition with genetics and lifestyle, many other factors contribute to TMJ disorder.
Symptoms of TMJ
TMJ disorders are characterized by many symptoms. The most common symptoms include:
- Headaches, pain behind your eyes, and earaches
- Pain when chewing, yawning, or opening your mouth
- A clicking sound when you close or open your mouth
- Jaws that lock or get stuck
- Tender jaw muscles
- A change in the way the lower and upper teeth fit together
What Causes TMJ?
Some of the possible causes of TMJ include:
- Injury to the head, neck or jaw
- Clenching or grinding your teeth
- Stress- when you are provoked to tighten your jaws or facial muscles
- Dislocating the disc or soft cushion between the socket and ball
- Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in the TM joints
The Best Essential Oils for TMJ Relief
Lavender is commonly recommended because of its soothing scent. Many people find this to be a very relaxing oil. This can be a potentially important mechanism, as many people have TMJ pain that’s secondary to stress.
There is also reasonable evidence to suggest that lavender might be somewhat effective. Lavender has proven anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been shown to be effective against nerve pain.
Lavender has even been proven to be an antispasmodic. Since these are all potential sources of TMJ pain, this makes lavender one of the most promising essential oils for TMJ relief.
Eucalyptus is commonly used for pain relief in many contexts, and there is good support for this application. It’s been shown to relieve pain and reduce blood pressure when inhaled, but its anti-inflammatory properties are less well-proven.
It seems to work by blocking nerve signals, but the exact mechanism is unclear.
Chamomile is well-known as a potential sleep aid, especially as tea. However, it’s also a promising remedy for TMJ pain. That’s because chamomile is an effective anti-inflammatory herb.
In addition, chamomile has been used effectively for a number of joint conditions, so it should be helpful for problems in the temporomandibular joint.
Yarrow is an herb that’s long been used medicinally. In fact, its scientific name, Achillea, refers to the fact that it was use by Achilles in the Iliad of Homer and supposedly during the historical Trojan War. Yarrow has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory herb. However, there are some cautions here.
Yarrow is also known to be mildly toxic, and it can affect sperm production. In addition, some essential oils derived from yarrow include phthalate derivatives, which can increase cancer risk. They affect a woman’s ability to carry a healthy pregnancy to term.
Rosemary essential oil has been proven to be effective in reducing musculoskeletal pain. It’s about as effective as menthol. Rosemary essential oil has also been shown to reduce inflammation.
Home Remedies for TMJ
The following diet recommendations have proven effective in relieving TMJ:
- Easy to chew foods- soups, smoothies, stews, or cooked vegetables
- Wild fish- Omega 3 can help relieve inflammation and pain
- Small meals- consumption of small meals can help to stabilize your blood sugar. When your blood sugar fluctuates or is inconsistent, you are likely to experience frequent grinding of teeth.
- Steamed vegetables- Such foods provide essential nutrients for healing
- Protein shakes- A protein shake is a good alternative for persons who have difficulty chewing protein
- Foods rich in magnesium- Magnesium is a mineral that relieves tension in muscles and promotes relaxation
The main mineral supplements used to treat TMJ include magnesium and calcium for relaxation of muscles, kava to reduce anxiety, MSM to reduce muscle spasms, and vitamin B complex for relieving stress.
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