There are quite a few possible causes for the temporomandibular joint, or the jaw joint to be painful. It can have to do with improper posture of the head. It can happen from malocclusion, misalignment of the teeth. It can happen from those two things, and the possibility of grinding, clenching, or muscular dysfunction, or the jaw.
The approach to treating TMJ has been a multi-disciplinary approach for many years and it has been really difficult. A lot of chiropractors adjust the jaw but many times this condition is so painful you can’t even go there.
In my practice I have been successfully using EPAT which is also known as Shock-Wave (ESWT) as a modality to treat TMJ. The way it works is that we apply a very comfortable pulse of shockwaves into the musculature, into the joint itself and into the deep muscles behind the joint. What happens is, it’s allowing us to get in places we’ve never been able to before, that previously you had to get in with a needle inside the mouth, or surgically.
What EPAT is accomplishing that those other modalities can’t is that it is causing new blood vessels to grow and new collagen tissue so that the joint helps heal itself and starts to reduce pain. That’s what the EPAT/Shock-Wave Therapy does is increases blood flow to the areas through a bunch of different biochemical processes and it also helps increase bone repair, regenerate the issue.
These shockwaves have also been shown to cause temporary local anesthesia through certain physiologic processes. What happens is, many times when we treat a patient with this, they can open their mouth with less pain, or no pain, to a much greater degree than they could prior with other modalities.
The treatments are very short in duration ten to twelve minutes, which is really nice. They are not really not painful, especially with the low energy setting that we use because it’s close to a lot of bones on the face. We make sure it’s very comfortable. Generally, treatments take place once a week from four to eight weeks of treatment depending on what needs to be done. Everyone is different but many times there is a lot of instant relief.
The feedback from patients has been excellent so far, it’s blown my mind, to pardon the cliché. It’s been doing really well.
EPAT works great on both the acute and chronic cases. Patients with either are viable patients for EPAT/Shock-Wave.
I would encourage anyone suffering from TMJ to locate a doctor in their area that offers EPAT as treatment option.
*If you would like some information about using EPAT to treat TMJ or to locate an experienced physician in your area contact us. If you are located near Doylestown, PA you can call our office Wagner Integrative Therapies 215-230-8100