Last Modified on Feb 05, 2013
Holistic Treatments for Oral/Facial Pain and Inflammation
The bones, joints, and muscles of the lower face can experience chronic pain for a number of reasons. Complementary and alternative medicine treatments can help reduce inflammation, reduce muscle tension, and otherwise improve the symptoms of jaw pain and its underlying causes.
Beyond sharp and/or chronic jaw pain, sufferers may also experience symptoms such as jaw clicks (particularly when eating), muscle fatigue in the face, a "locked" jaw, ear pain, and headaches. Causes of jaw pain can include a facial injury, habitual clenching of the jaw, and grinding of the teeth.
Alternative Healing Therapies: Oro-facial massage, stretching of the jaw muscles, and anti-inflammatory supplements such as omega-3 oils or green tea extracts may help reduce tension and inflammation in the jaw thereby reducing jaw pain. Resting the jaw by not eating foods that are difficult to chew should reduce pain and allow the jaw to heal in some cases, as can use of heating pads or ice packs as appropriate.
02/17/2012: Steve from Las Vegas, Nevada: "My suggestion is an unconventional one. Google energy healers. There are a lot of good healers who can help you with this pain right over the phone as crazy as it sounds. Physical therapy, chiropractic, and certainly surgery will most likely not improve this condition."
02/16/2012: Debbie from Melbourne, Australia: "Clenching and grinding teeth may be a magnesium deficiency. Try having a 30 minute bath/soak with Epsom salts before you go to bed and see if there is any difference."
02/19/2012: Bev from Long Beach, Ca: "It sounds like the same thing I suffered with years ago. My chiropractor put his fingers in my mouth and pressed on my left side at the hinge area. My jaw was stuck on the right side. He kept applying pressure until the right side relaxed. I have used this technique when I feel one side or the other start to lock. Do it yourself... Between your upper and lower jaw at the hinge. Good luck."
02/19/2012: Mt from Ottawa, On Canada: "I found on EC one article about tmj under the sesame oil pulling section -it looks that sesame oil pulling helps on the jaw pain.
There are also at least 2 acupuncture points dedicated to locked jaw condition -I guess that an acupuncture session may help."
02/16/2012: Lock-jawed from Morrison, Tn, Usa: "I am at the end of my rope and I am hoping you can help me.
Current situation: Yesterday I woke up with severe pain in my left jaw joint area and the jaw is locked shut. I went to a chiropractor who used 12 minutes of traction and the Pulse Star machine on me. I came home, took a Valerian root cap and applied a moist heating pad to the joint for approximately an hour and a half. The jaw pain on the left side went away and reverted back to the right side, but not as severe as what was on the left side. This morning, I awoke with the same problem- only more severe.
Forty years ago, when I had braces applied, I started to notice clicking in my jaw. Over the years, it has gotten worse and last February, my jaw locked shut and has remained so ever since. I have seen seven different doctors, from a chiropractor to a maxillofacial surgeon with no relief whatsoever.I read the info on this site and I had been taking magnesium, zinc, vit. C, vit. D, and selenium for about two weeks - up until yesterday. I have also been taking the baking soda/lemon juice twice a day.
I can't stand this anymore, can you help me? Thank you for your time."Replies
02/16/2012: Gracie from Cities, Mn replies: "Sorry, I don't know much about this but my friend had similar problem recently and it was TMJ. (inflammation in skull bones). Maybe try and research it."
02/16/2012: Citygirl from Nanaimo, Bc replies: "Have you tried DMSO? Do your own research first, though. The book : The persecuted drug, the story of DMSO is a good read."
02/17/2012: Timh from Louisville, Ky, Usa replies: "Lock-jawed, I have experienced a similar problem that may have something in common w/ yours. About 2 yrs ago I was prescribed Levothyroxin (generic) for Hypothyroidism. Day one took ??mcg tab 1st thing getting up and by late afternoon began experiencing pain in my right jaw. Pain wasn't so bad as to associate it w/ med but was going to play it safe if it did get worse. Day 2 take med and by that afternoon jaw pain worsened to severe and overnight extended to a migraine headache. At this point I am completely debilitated and lived on vegetable juice for that night and next day. Day 4/5 was desperate for any kind of relief so decided to take a bath in Povidone Iodine and received instant relief and rebounded from the entire nightmare somewhat whole... Until several months later when I noticed a minor speech impediment at the beginning of speaking, and sometime latter noticed my entire right jaw somewhat swollen and my mouth drooped about 1/4 inch (also on right side) and remains so up to today.
My best guess at this med reaction is my occasional gastritis and leaky gut which could have allowed the med to be absorbed directly into bloodstream without being first metabolized by the liver, just guessing. What this has to do w/ the jaw or jawbone I do not know. Also I have a current recurring headache of almost intolerable degree.
I haven't experienced the lockjaw as you have, but I can repeatedly pop it by moving jaw from one side to other. Only thing I can guess w/ you is some kind of toxicity or drug interaction issue, or maybe even some type of infection. I have yet to gargle a mouth full of Bentonite Clay as a remedy. Am just about to try 2 "Homeopathic Detoxifier" sublingual. I will report any positive changes in my condition if they occur.
Please report back any changes in your condition."
02/17/2012: Debbie from Melbourne, Australia replies: "Timh, I recommend you watch the linked video from Dr. Terry Wahls called "Food as Medicine: Brain Health". After doing the research herself, she cured her MS by eating a paleo diet and adding supplements specifically for the mitochondria to heal. She also mentions headaches and migraines in her informative 6 part video. It may help your headaches.
02/17/2012: Brian from Adelaide, Sth Aus, Australia replies: "Hi Lockjaw, I am about to take your plea and a reply from Timh to uncharted waters. Just yesterday I posted a cure that worked for me for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and I am thinking there is a connection to both your problems. Timh's sounds a bit like Bell's Palsy which is caused by an interruption to the Seventh Cranial Nerve which controls facial expressions. Also known as the facial nerve, it has pathways along both sides of the face leading to and wrapping around the jawbone. If perchance you both sleep with one hand under your jaw then I am thinking there is a possibilty you are both causing damage by accidental compression. An average human head weighs up to 5kg compared to an average extruded house brick that weighs about 3kg. In some cases it compresses the wrist resulting in CTS symptoms but I am taking a stab in the dark that in other cases may go the other way and compress the facial nerve and affect the jaw. Here is the link to my post :
02/18/2012: Timh from Louisville, Ky replies: "Debbie, thanks for your suggestions. Unfortunately I have several factors preventing that perfect diet. I do make big efforts to avoid the worst foods and consume the best, otherwise I eat mostly canned or frozen foods and supplement to insure the best nutrient obtainable. I can't even keep fresh fruits & veggies in the fridge long enough to eat them before they go bad and I throw them out (and I hate to waste anything).
If I had a dream come true, I would love to take a personal journey to the middle-earth paleo lifestyle for at least periodic intervals to regain health. This always leaves me imagining also gaining great spiritual strength from power places like Stonehenge and Glastonbury Thor. Just imagine the physical, mental, and spiritual health of those ancient peoples!"
02/18/2012: Debbie from Melbourne, Australia replies: "Timh, I take your point. If you are worried about them going off you could juice them. I go to farmers markets so the fruit is fresher than in the supermarkets. Also you can make your own wheatgrass juice and there is nothing better than that as far as nutrition goes. It contains all the needed nutrients. Sprouts are also something you can make yourself on the kitchen bench in a few days and are very healthy. Dr. Wahls also mentioned cod liver oil as being good for brain health. You only need about 1 tsp per day so it lasts a long time.
There are problems with tinned foods with the plastic lining in them. Also they probably contain MSG so you have to be careful."
02/18/2012: Lock-jawed from Morrison, Tn, Usa replies: "Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions.
I have done enough research on TMJ that I should be giving advice, not asking for it. 8-) The trouble is, doctors now are so specialized that they have tunnel vision when it comes to prescribing a cure: an oral surgeon says surgery will work, a chiropractor says a neck adjustment will work, a dentist wants to pull teeth, an orthodontist wants to apply braces, and a massage therapist wants to do a massage. None of them seem to be looking at the whole picture.
I bought an excellent book two years ago when I had the first flare-up, "Management of Common Musculoskeletal Disorders, Physical Therapy Principles and Methods, " which describes the TMJ area and connecting elements in great detail. I wish I could find a doctor who read this book.
I think my problem is mainly with the muscles due to an unnatural amount of stress and anxiety over the past two years. A secondary, and possibly related, cause could be a possibly dead molar with a mercury filling. About ten years ago, when this molar started to bother me when I chewed on it, I began chewing exclusively on the left side. I think this caused an imballance in the jaw muscles, which caused the joint to go out of whack. I have found a biological dentist an hour and a half away from me, but I don't think she can help until I am able to get my mouth open.
Since I lost my job last week, due to the jaw problem, I can now use this time to seriously doctor myself.
I am eating only soft foods (because that is all I can eat), I am taking two Valarian root caps three times a day along with the Vit. C & D, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. I spend all day reclined with a heating pad on my left jaw, and deep massage of the muscles every hour or so. And I have promised myself to not do anything, or even worry about doing anything - my goal is zero stress - at least for the duration of the healing process.
I have faith in this new chiropractor since he seems to have an understanding of how it all works together. If nothing else, relieving the tension in my neck and shoulder muscles will be a big help.
I think I recall reading about DMSO remedies on a bird web site. Is it the same thing?
I happen to have a box of epsom salt in my bathroom. I'll give that a try tonight.
Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated!"
02/18/2012: Lock-jawed from Morrison, Tn, Usa replies: "Hi Brian, No, I go to sleep on one side or the other, but I always wake up flat on my back.
You are right about compression on the nerve though. I've been looking up trigeminal neuralgia because I sometimes have the stabbing pains associated with this, but in my case I really think it is due to inflamation in the joint area.
I also came across a web site about mercury fillings which had a before and after photo of a woman who was diagnosed with MG after having the filings put in her teeth. One side of her face is droopy, like she had a stroke. Thats what I look like, on the right side, the side with the bad molar. I think because of a possible infection in that tooth, an excess amount (any amount is excess in my opinion) of mercury is seeping into my system. The right side of my head feels like it is made of lead... inside and out.
So, I'm wondering, would it be advisable to do a toxic metal detox now, or should I wait until after I have this tooth fixed/pulled?
I really think there is a connection between the tooth and the jaw issue... just don't know what."
02/22/2012: Andrea C from Cardiff, Wales: "I too have been under great stress due to ilness and 'every day life' xxx there is nothing finer than 'stress for beating the body up!! I am going to suggest a book, yes a book xxx Its by JOHN E. SARNO, M. D. He discovered what he named, 'Tension Myositis Syndrome' (T. M. S) I too had 'locked jaw's' and intensce pain, which I belive were origanally triggered off by a medication. Which in turn getting off of it AND withdrawaral symptoms, only made my 'stress levels' escalate even more!! I nearly bit my dentist fingers off at 1 appointment because I could not 'open wide' and the dentist shoved their hand in the corner of my mouth and tried to pry it open futher, bad mistake! My jaw and 'clamped completely closed, and I was panicking 'more stress!! ' and the dentist was break dancing and screaming, and I was in agony, trying 2 scream, and then had a bloody 'asthma attack' just 2 cap it off!! (even more stress! ) see?
Anyway 2 cut along story short the book is called 'THE MIND BODY PRESCPIPTION' by JOHN E. SARNO, MD. U can search the web for info, on him and T. M. S but BUY the book xxxxx Howard Stern also used this when he was in agony from back and shoulder pain. You can get it on 'Amazon' there is a lot of positive reviews on it, and a few neg 1's, but do not let this put you off. Also, a wise west indian nurse once told me, 'even if the pain or thoughts won't let you sleep lay down and rest the body 4 its as important as resting your mind. Believe me you have my sympathy as I have med probs that besides chronic pain stop me from being able 2 do the simplest of tasks. But I also belive in 'seek and you will find the answer' xxxx Anything is worth a try when you are suffering to the point of despair which only causes more anxiety, stress, and pain xxxx hope this helps you, you may have to read it a few times as some people stated, but stick with it and try 2 avoid people, or situations that stress you, even your own family!! They're usually the worst offenders!!! LOVE Andrea c xxxxxxxxxxxx"