About 30 minutes ago, I read a statement on the Mayo Clinic website that noted:
“Severe TMJ disorders may need to be treated with dental or surgical interventions.” (From: Mayo Clinic)
That’s a simple statement that few would take issue with. And it seems to meet the unconscious expectations that many of us have, such as “Long term pain in body means surgery may be necessary.” As I have written previously on this blog, there is a great deal of research to suggest that pain symptoms do not always have a structural cause and it has been demonstrated that many people with defined “causes” do not necessarily have pain symptoms (See: Think Your Pain Symptoms Are Caused By a Structural Problem?)
However, the Mayo Clinic’s assertions are somewhat shocking because in the case of TMJ problems, there isn’t any reliable evidence that surgery or dental implants work for TMJ pain. Research organizations such as the NIH have repeatedly stressed that there is little evidence supporting surgery. For example,
“There have been no long-term clinical trials to study the safety and effectiveness of surgical treatments for TMJ disorders. Nor are there standards to identify people who would most likely benefit from surgery.” (From: NIH)
If you want more detail, I did a post about TMJ and Dental devices on my blog that promotes my Feldenkrais TMJ program. For those of you who do Feldenkrais-related work or are interested in doing so, using Feldenkrais for TMJ meets all of the suggested requirements put out by the NIH and NIDCR. Namely, that treatments should be
1) Conservative and reversible
2) Customized to a client’s special needs.
And treatments that can cause permanent changes in the bite or jaw should be avoided.
Even more to the point: “Simple self-care practices such as relaxation techniques, stress reduction, and biofeedback are often effective in easing TMJ symptoms.”