April 3, 2022

Decreasing TMD pain with
Education and Coaching

starter blog

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a commonly experienced jaw related problem. This pain could be caused by many factors, including trauma, joint pathology as well as different types of oral behaviors (Xu, et.al, 2021). These oral behaviors include number of actions like lips and nail biting, teeth grinding, muscle tightening, sitting with hands on the jaw and so on. Typically TMJ is being treated by the dentist and specialists. In 2021 researchers created a study to find out if the TMJ pain education along with counseling (coaching) will impact the healing process. The study was performed on 54 patients diagnosed with TMD. Patients were asked to fill the oral habits questionnaire before they were educated about the TMJ causes and ways to release tension from the joint. Each patient received a treatment plan with recommendations to relax the facial muscles, observing and making changes to negative habits impacting the pain, eating soft foods, improving posture, using both sides of the jaw while chewing food. All patients took a progress survey after 3, 6 and 9 months from the start of the treatment plan. The results of the study show the relationship between the level of education about TMD and TMD pain. This type of education which stressed self-observation and management showed improvement in the quality of life of patients with TMD pain. Especially the awareness about the factors impacting the pain, including holding, tightening of the jaw muscles, excessive talking, chewing gum, thumb sucking, singing, helped in creating daily changes, which lowered the discomfort. Additionally, some psychological factors that were brought to attention included avoidance of fear, anxiousness, depressive thoughts and passive coping. Counseling and coaching seem like good options to create ways to set up wellness goals, work through emotions and thoughts.

Written by Ania Haas MS.LMT

Xu, L., Cai, B., Lu, S., Fan, S., & Dai, K. (2021). The Impact of Education and Physical Therapy on Oral Behaviour in Patients with Temporomandibular Disorder: A Preliminary Study. BioMed Research International, 1–7.

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