Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
Temporomandibular Disc Problems
This shows anterior disc replacement. When the person closes their mouth, there would be a clicking sound either heard or felt. The cause of this is most often instability of the TMJ, which can be resolved wih Prolotherapy in most cases.
When patients are dealing with chronic TMJ dysfunction, it is important to see a Prolotherapy specialist who can also conduct a proper exam for cervical spine instability and perhaps order a Digital Motion X-ray to watch the movement of the jaw and cervical spine in real-time. There can be an overlap of neck instability that refers pain to the face and jaw, and visa versa. The providers at Caring Medical are accustomed to dealing with complicated cases of jaw and spine instability with pain and other cervical instability symptoms, including difficulty swallowing, burning tongue, numbness, and others. If you have been chasing the symptoms and looking to get a more definitive diagnosis and pain resolution, versus pain “management,” we recommend a consultation with one of our providers.
The Close Anatomical Association between the
TMJ and the Upper Cervical Vertebrae
It is easy to visualize how injury to the ligaments that support the atlas (C1) and axis (C2) could cause pain to travel to the head, face, and TMJ areas through the nervous system. Likewise, TMJ instability can affect the same areas including the neck and upper cervical region.
Prolotherapy Treatment for TMJ Pain
For decades, our primary work has been to establish the most comprehensive Prolotherapy, Stem Cell Therapy, Platelet Rich Plasma, and Nerve Release and Regeneration treatment protocols available for chronic pain, including pain in the jaw, head, neck, and face. These regenerative injection treatments are ideal for TMJ pain because they strengthen the ligaments that allow for proper movement of the TMJ. Common options patients have tried before coming to our office are usually not focused on the ligaments at all, only trying to turn off the pain signal, but do nothing to stabilize the joint itself. These can include TMJ arthroscopic surgery, TMJ implants, cervical spine surgery (many varieties), botulism toxin injections into muscles, and surgical cauterization, which zaps the bones with a radiofrequency wave, destroying the treated area. This last technique may eliminate a patient’s pain because it destroys the fibro-osseous junction, where the pain originates. Why destroy or remove a structure when there is a treatment that will help strengthen and repair it?
Anyone with TMJ dysfunction knows how painful it is to have the jaw pop continuously. This is indicative of joint instability. Until the joint instability is resolved, symptoms will persist. Joint instability is caused because the ligaments that hold the joints together and allow for proper movement become overstretched or torn. This allows for destructive joint motions, just like a loose hinge on a cabinet leads to the wearing down of the cabinet door. Joint instability causes or aggravates pain in the jaw, face, and head. Prolotherapy is the only treatment that addresses joint instability directly by attracting growth factors to repair the ligaments right where they attach to the bones. Prolotherapy causes a permanent strengthening of ligaments and eliminates the root cause of the pain.
Our Research on the use of Prolotherapy for TMJ Pain
Many of the subjective symptoms of pain, stiffness, and crunching sensation in patients with TMJ dysfunction were reduced greater than 50% in 92% of the Prolotherapy patients in this study. The complete study and results can be read here: Hauser R, et al. Dextrose Prolotherapy and pain of chronic TMJ dysfunction. Practical Pain Management. 2007;Nov/Dec:49-55.
Pain scale is 1-10 where 1 = no pain & 10 = unrelenting pain.
Crunching sensation scale is 1-10 where 1 = no crunching & 10 = extreme crunching.
Stiffness scale is 1-10 where 1 = no stiffness & 10 = extremely stiff.
We get patient satisfaction results. 100% of patients in this study felt that Prolotherapy changed their life for the better and 100% have since recommended Prolotherapy to someone else.
Our other studies on regenerative treatment outcomes for TMJ pain
- A Systematic Review of Dextrose Prolotherapy for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain
- Evidence-Based Use of Dextrose Prolotherapy for Musculoskeletal Pain: A Scientific Literature Review
- Joint Instability Treatment with Prolotherapy
Patient Success Stories using Prolotherapy for TMJ Pain
TMJ Injury after Multiple Whiplash Injuries
MH sustained multiple whiplash injuries during contact sports and motor vehicle accidents, leaving her with unrelenting jaw pain. She found no relief from chiropractic adjustments, and chose Prolotherapy instead. With one treatment, the jaw pain resolved.
Chronic pain after traumas involving whiplash injuries almost always has ligament laxity as the etiology. Prolotherapy is necessary for pain resolution.
Alternative to TMJ Replacement in a Teenager
Dan is a teenager who had been in pain for 5 years going from medical provider to medical provider, seeking relief for his constant TMJ pain, including the ER for nerve blocks that only relieved the pain for a few days. The pain was so great that Dan was unable to function in school, and he eventually had to drop out. Life is tough enough for teens, but the lack of social interaction combined with intense pain, made for a dismal existence. Fortunately, Dan’s supportive family helped him to walk through this experience.
His physicians recommended joint replacement, because eating and speaking was eliciting so much pain, and none of the varied treatments they tried were helping. Instead, Dan and his family opted for Prolotherapy at Caring Medical. Both TMJ’s were treated with Prolotherapy and nerve release injection therapy (NRRIT). Since he was under so much stress, and because stress can cause the body to attack itself, the practitioners discussed stress relieving techniques. Dan also worked on the mind and body connection with his counselor. Caring Medical practitioners also stayed in contact with Dan’s TMJ specialist, to encourage appropriate TMJ splinting. Sleep is so important for healing, and when tested, Dan was found to have sleep apnea, for which CPAP was ordered. Lastly, since anti-inflammatories and pain medications inhibit healing, and Dan had been taking both, he needed to work on weaning off of them.
Platelet Rich Plasma Prolotherapy was the preferred solution for Dan’s treatments. After the third treatment, his improvement reached 40 percent. Pain medications were only taken twice in the previous month. Prior to his fifth and final treatment, Dan was back to taking classes, doing Cross Fit and making plans to enter college. He was ecstatic! At one point, he thought he’d never get his life back, but he absolutely did. Dan graduated from Prolotherapy pain-free!
Chronic pain, even in teens, can be very real and have devastating consequences in their formative years. Most young people respond fully within only a couple or a handful of treatments because their bodies are still growing and they have incredible healing capabilities.
TMJ Clicking & Lockjaw
Jessica had experienced “clicking” in her left TMJ for as long as she could remember. At age 27, she developed pain and began to have instances of lockjaw. Jessica would experience sharp pain every time she yawned or chewed. She had no history of oral surgery or teeth grinding. The cause was determined to be a weak TMJ ligament. After 5 rounds of comprehensive Prolotherapy to her left TMJ, Jessica reported the pain and clicking to be 100% alleviated.
Many people like Jessica end up trying splints, unnecessary dental work, or even braces before learning about Prolotherapy. The other treatments do not consider or fix the loose TMJ ligament and problems are likely to persist for years. Luckily, she knew of the treatment and utilized it as a first-line therapy.
More Information About Prolotherapy for TMJ Pain
How well do you understand the cause of your TMJ pain?
Take the Joint Instability Quiz! This quiz covers how musculoskeletal pain develops and which important diagnosis is often missing when people are suffering from chronic pain.
Articles about Prolotherapy for TMJ Pain
- TMJ, Joint Hypermobility Syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
- TMJ: The other symptoms: Neck pain, muscle spasms, myofascial pain, breathing problems, digestive disorders and dizziness
- The evidence and comparisons of TMJ injection treatments and conservative care treatments
- Ernest Syndrome | Is this the answer to unresolved TMJ, facial, ear and throat pain?
- Cervical disc disease and difficulty swallowing – cervicogenic dysphagia
- Hydrodissection of the cervical plexus and auricular temporal nerve
- TMJ and Tinnitus: Should we explore the ligament chain from the cervical spine through the neck to the jaw to the ear?
- UPDATED: Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Joint hypermobility, and temporomandibular disorders
Videos about Prolotherapy for TMJ Pain
Books about Prolotherapy for TMJ Pain
Caring Medical: Utilizing dynamic testing to properly diagnose and identify the structures causing symptoms and degenerative conditions, and treating with comprehensive regenerative injection therapy, H3 Prolotherapy, and individualized joint rehabilitation protocols
You deserve the best possible results from your TMJ pain treatment. Let’s make this happen! Talk to our team about your case to find out if you are a good candidate.