Acupuncture for Jaw Pain Relief

What is Jaw Pain?

Jaw pain, also known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, is pain in the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. It can cause a number of different symptoms including:

  • Jaw pain and stiffness
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Clicking or popping with movement of the jaw
  • Headaches
  • Earache or ear pain

It is often worse when chewing, yawning, during stressful periods or after dental appointments.

There are many different reasons why you may be suffering from TMJ pain. It can come on following an injury or infection, as a result of wear and tear, a misalignment of the jaw, or teeth grinding.

Jaw Pain and Teeth Grinding

One of the most common causes of TMJ pain is teeth grinding. People who grind their teeth often do so as a result of stress and are usually unaware that they are doing it. Teeth grinding often happens at night, and you may not realise what is going on until you begin to experience jaw pain.

Other symptoms that might indicate that you are grinding your teeth include:

  • Facial pain
  • Headaches
  • Disturbed sleep (for you or your partner)
  • Damaged teeth or fillings

If you suffer from jaw pain, it is important that you visit a dentist who will be able to confirm whether you are grinding your teeth. They may also be able to prescribe a special mouth guard to help.

Acupuncture for Jaw Pain

Acupuncture can help with jaw pain in several different ways:

  • Acupuncture influences the sensory nerves to relieve pain
  • Acupuncture boosts endorphins (your body’s natural painkilling chemicals)
  • Acupuncture reduces inflammation
  • Acupuncture relieves stress and relaxes the muscles
  • Acupuncture improves circulation to promote healing

There are many acupuncture points located around the jaw which can be used locally to relieve pain. Other points may also be selected to help you to relax and keep your stress levels down. If you also suffer from headaches or neck pain, we can address those symptoms too.

Relieving Jaw Pain Naturally

Acupuncture is a great way to relieve jaw pain naturally, but there are plenty of things you can try at home too. By taking a little extra care of you jaw, you can help to relieve TMJ pain and prevent it from happening again in the future.

Eat Soft Food

One of the best ways to relieve and prevent jaw pain is by eating food which doesn’t require too much chewing. Soups, stews and pasta are all good choices, but avoid serving them with crusty bread which can strain your jaw. You should also steer clear of hard fruit such as apples, chewing gum and chewy sweets.

Yawn Carefully

Opening your mouth wide to yawn can really aggravate jaw pain, so try and train yourself to yawn carefully, with your mouth open just a little.

Learn to Relax

Stress is a leading cause of jaw pain, and practising relaxation techniques may help. Other stress related habits such as nail biting or chewing on pen tops can make TMJ pain worse, so finding alternative ways to cope with pressure will certainly help.

Massage and Exercise

Regularly massaging your jaw, face and neck can relieve tension and reduce pain. Practising TMJ exercises may also help. These exercises are thought to stretch the jaw to improve mobility and strengthen the surrounding muscles to reduce pain.

Use Heat or Cold Packs

Using heat packs or ice packs is another way to easily relieve TMJ pain at home. It may be especially helpful to use these after visiting the dentist or any other activity that makes your pain worse.

If you are suffering from jaw pain or any related conditions, and would like to learn more about how acupuncture could help you, contact us today and we will be happy to answer any questions.

Acupressure Massage for Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common issue, but luckily it can often be relieved by using this simple acupressure self-massage. Acupressure uses the same points as acupuncture, but they are stimulated using finger pressure rather than needles. This makes it a safe and easy treatment that anyone can do when they need fast relief.

This acupressure massage can be done almost anywhere, but it is best to choose a quiet spot where you can relax without interruptions. Focus on your breathing throughout the massage and perform each movement slowly and with intention. The entire massage should take five to ten minutes.

First you will need to locate the point numbered GB20 at the base of your skull. You will find it between the trapezius muscle which runs over the top of your shoulder and the sternocleidomastoid muscle which runs down the side of your neck.

Place your hands on the sides of your head with your two thumbs on the points on either side. Use your thumbs to press into the points, pushing them up towards your eyes. Hold for a few seconds and take some deep, calming breaths. Then use your thumbs to massage the point in small circles using medium to firm pressure. You should be able to feel the points, but it should not be uncomfortable. Continue to massage the points in this way for one or two minutes.

Next, use your index and middle fingers to massage the muscles either side of your spine. Work your way down your neck, using small, circular motions. Repeat three times.

Then you will need to locate the vertebra at the base of your neck (numbered C7). It should be slightly prominent compared with those above and below it. Midway between the tip of this vertebrae and the tip of your shoulder, you will find the point GB21. Massage this point with your index and middle fingers using medium pressure for one to two minutes. (Note: If you are pregnant, you should skip this stage)

You will then need to locate two more points located just behind GB21. These are numbered TB15 and SI13. The three points are in a straight line, around a fingers width apart. Repeat your circular massage on these points one by one, spending around one to two minutes on each.

After that, use the flat surface of your fingers to sweep down your neck and over your shoulders in long, smooth strokes. You may find it easier to do this by reaching across your body and using the opposite hand to the side you are massaging. Repeat this action three times on each side.

Finally, take a few deep breaths. Turn your head gently and slowly to the left, then the right and look up and down. Repeat this several times, shake out your arms and relax for a few moments before going back to your day.



Acupuncture for Neck Pain Relief

Neck pain is as extremely common problem. It can be caused by something as simple as sleeping in an odd position or staring down at your smartphone for too long. In these cases, your neck pain will usually resolve by itself in a day or two without the need for further action. However, sometimes neck pain can become chronic, and that’s where acupuncture comes in!

Some of the most common causes of chronic neck pain are:

  • Whiplash injury
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Prolapsed disc
  • Pinched nerve

So if you have neck pain that doesn’t go away by itself, what should you do?

Treatments for Neck Pain

The most common medications for neck pain are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, and painkillers. These drugs are good for providing short term relief, but in the long run they may cause side effects and should only be used as a temporary measure.

Other therapies such as chiropractic and osteopathy are also popular, and use physical manipulation to correct structural imbalances and relieve pain. These treatments can be highly effective, but must be carried out by a properly trained professional or you could make the problem worse.

Massage is also a great way to relieve neck pain and release muscular tension. Many people see massage as an expensive treat, but it needn’t cost a fortune. Our basic acupressure self-massage for neck pain is quick, easy and can be done at home or in the office, absolutely free!

Acupuncture for Neck Pain

Acupuncture is another great way to provide relief from chronic neck pain. It works in a number of different ways:

  • Acupuncture relieves pain by influencing the central nervous system
  • Acupuncture increases the action of endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers
  • Acupuncture relieves muscular tension
  • Acupuncture reduces inflammation
  • Acupuncture increases blood flow to the local area to promote healing

Acupuncture also helps to reduce stress, another common cause of neck pain. If you are holding a lot of physical tension in your neck and shoulders due to stress, acupuncture could be perfect for you. Not only is it incredibly relaxing, but it can also help with other symptoms of a high-pressure lifestyle such as headaches and migraines.

Other traditional Chinese therapies such as cupping may also be used, and acupuncture can be safely employed alongside other therapies such as chiropractic, osteopathy and massage.

How Many Treatments will I Need?

People with neck pain can normally feel some relief after just one or two treatments. However, in order to get the maximum benefit from acupuncture we recommend a minimum of four to six weekly treatments. Following this, you may wish to come for maintenance treatments at less frequent intervals to provide ongoing relief.  The exact number of treatments needed will depend on the nature of your condition and how long you have had it.

How to Prevent and Relieve Neck Pain Naturally

Straighten Out Your Sleeping Habits

The position that you sleep in has a strong influence on your spine health. Choose a firm mattress and a low pillow to keep your back and neck straight when sleeping.

Stay Mobile

It is important to keep your neck and shoulders mobile to prevent stiffness and pain. Perform gentle exercises such as looking up and down and side to side or neck circles throughout the day. If you have a neck injury such as whiplash, it is no longer recommended that you use neck collars. It is better to keep your neck moving and allow it to heal more naturally.

Check Your Posture

Poor posture is a major cause of neck pain, so try and become aware of your neck’s position as you sit or stand. This is especially important if you work at a computer or in another job which requires you to stay in one position for a long time.

Use Hot or Cold Packs

Heat packs and ice packs are another great way to relieve neck pain naturally. Generally speaking, it is better to choose ice packs for new injuries (to reduce inflammation) and heat packs for chronic neck pain and stiffness. Experiment with both and see which works for you.

If you are suffering from neck pain and would like to know more about how acupuncture could help, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions.

Acupuncture for Back Pain Relief

Back pain is a common complaint and one of the most well known conditions that can be treated with acupuncture. According to statistics published by the NHS, back pain is a leading cause of disability, with lower back pain alone accounting for an amazing 11% of all disabilities among the adult population.

What Causes Back Pain?

Back pain is usually a result of inflammation due to either injury, overuse or poor posture. As human beings, we are not designed to sit for long periods. However, in this digital age, more and more of us are finding ourselves tied to a desk for work and then slouching on a sofa in the evenings. Over time, this changes the structure of our backs, leading to inflammation, muscular tension, stiffness and pain.

Our spines are made up of string of small bones called vertebrae. The joints between these can also become inflamed as we age. Repeated bending, twisting and lifting can all take their toll and lead to an increased risk of back pain.

Back pain can also be caused by issues such as prolapsed discs. These discs are actually small sacs, filled with a gel-like substance which help to cushion our vertebrae as they move. If a disc begins to protrude from between the vertebrae, it can put pressure on the surrounding nerves causing back pain and other symptoms such as sciatica.

Medication for Back Pain

The most common medications for back pain are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. These effectively reduce inflammation and can be very helpful in an acute flare-up of back pain. However, if you are suffering from chronic back pain, they are not such a great solution. Long-term NSAID use can damage the lining of the digestive tract, increasing the risk of bleeding and ulcers. Additionally, they should not be taken by asthmatics, people with high blood pressure or heart disease, or during pregnancy.

Painkillers such as paracetamol or co-codamol may also be prescribed for back pain, but these are not problem free either. Long-term use of painkillers can lead to what are known as “rebound headaches” and other unwanted side effects such as constipation or drowsiness.

The other problem with these medications is that although they may effectively mask the symptoms of the problem, they do nothing to address the root cause. Therefore, if you are suffering from back pain, it is important that you see your doctor for a proper diagnosis before self-treating with over-the-counter medicines.

Acupuncture for Back Pain

Acupuncture provides a drug-free alternative for treating chronic back pain. It works in a number of different ways:

  • Acupuncture relieves pain by changing the way our brains interpret pain signals received from the nerves of the back
  • Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers
  • Acupuncture and other therapies such as cupping relax the muscles of the back relieving tension and stiffness
  • Acupuncture relieves inflammation
  • Acupuncture improves local circulation to encourage faster healing

Because acupuncture is a natural treatment, it can be used safely by people of all ages. It stimulates the body’s ability to heal itself and works gently and effectively to relieve back pain.

How Many Treatments will I Need?

Acupuncture is not a quick fix like taking a painkiller, and it is likely that you will need several treatments to provide lasting results. Some people experience relief from back pain very quickly with acupuncture, but for others it may take a few weeks. Generally speaking, the longer you have had the pain and the more severe it is, the longer it will take to resolve.

How to Prevent and Relieve Back Pain Naturally

Stay Active

It is important to exercise regularly to keep your back strong and flexible in order to prevent back pain. If you suffer from back pain, avoid high impact sports like running which could make it worse. Swimming is a great choice as it takes the pressure of your back and joints as you exercise. Yoga, Pilates and tai chi are all great options too.

Check your Workstation

If you work at a desk, your posture can really suffer. Make sure that you have your workstation set up correctly with your monitor at eye-level, feet flat on the floor and your elbows and knees resting at a 90 degree angle. Take regular breaks to get out of your seat and stretch, or try some of these simple desk yoga exercises.

Spread the Load

If you regularly carry a bag, choose a rucksack which can be carried over both shoulders and do not overload it. Split shopping bags between both hands to keep your spine straight and your back happy.

Lift Carefully

If you need to lift a heavy load, using a good lifting technique can help to protect your back and prevent injury. Let your legs do the hard work and always ask for assistance if you need it.

Taking these simple steps could help to protect your back and prevent developing back pain. But if you are one of the millions of people already suffering from chronic back pain, why not put the painkillers to one side and give acupuncture a try?