I was introduced to doTERRA’s Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils and essential oil enhanced wellness products in 2011 and my life and health have completely changed for the better. Treating my TMJ requires a daily regimen of at home remedies which include becoming mindful of when I am clenching my jaw, using doTERRA essential oils aromatically, topically, and internally, and using doTERRA’s Life Long Vitality supplements and other wellness products. Until I began using doTERRA’s products, I had come to terms with the fact that I would live with the symptoms of TMJ, chronic pain in the jaw, sore neck and shoulder muscles, and headaches, for the rest of my life. But I am happy to report, after a decade of suffering, that I am now almost completely symptom free!
Over 10 million Americans suffer from the severe pain and discomfort associated with TMJ (Temporomandibular joint disorder). The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the temporal bone (skull) to the mandible (lower jaw) in front of the ear. People with TMJ suffer from chronic head and neck pain, facial pain, ear pain, headaches, locked jaw, problems chewing, problems talking, etc. To put it simply, TMJ is no fun and it affects people of all ages and walks of life.
TMJ can have different causes like wear and tear due to aging, habits, diseases such as Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis, or, as in my case, plain old trauma to the jaw. I know you are all picturing a soccer ball or punch to the side of my face right now, but the truth is much less interesting. My jaw trauma was the result of chronic anxiety and stress.
We live with stress on a daily basis. It’s just a fact of life and we all deal with stress differently. I had a tendency to clench my jaw during stressful situations and grind my teeth uncontrollably at night during sleep, leading to severe TMJ. It affected the way I talked, shattered my confidence and energy levels, and kept me in a perpetually agitated state, no doubt affecting my relationships.
But sleep grinding has many possible causes and these are not well documented. Possible reasons for sleep grinding may be:
- Anxiety or stress;
- Digestive problems;
- Asymmetrical teeth;
- Irregular or disturbed sleep patterns;
- Vitamin deficiency such as:
- Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B-5)– an anti-stress vitamin that reduces the product of certain hormones and helps control motor activity, including that of the reflexes of the jaw;
- Magnesium – which can cause spasms and affects people at night;
- Dislocated jaw;
- Central nervous system disorders;
- Internalization of anger manifesting itself
After years of dealing with the swollen face, headaches, neck pain, and difficulty chewing, I finally sought professional help when my jaw locked and I could no longer open my mouth wider than an inch. The Craneofacial specialist told me that on a scale of 1 to 20 for severity, my jaw was an 18, and the damage to the disc (the padding between the ball and socket joint) was irreversible. This disc absorbs shock to the temporomandibular joint from chewing and other movements, and mine was so stretched out as to be almost nonexistent.
The doctor fitted me with a plastic bite guard, to help reduce the clenching and teeth grinding, and prescribed three months of continual use (day and night). I had to wear the guard to my jobs waiting tables, to school, and to bed. The only time I could take it off was while eating. It was tenth grade with braces in all over again.
The guard helped to open my jaw and and lessen the symptoms, but I was still using it to sleep in on a nightly basis after almost a decade because the root causes of my TMJ were not being addressed. I was still clenching my jaw during stressful situations and grinding my teeth at night. To write this now, it seems pretty obvious, but the truth is that in combination with stress and anxiety, I was probably suffering from chronic digestive issues, vitamin deficiency, irregular sleep patterns, an anxious central nervous system, and internalization of anger.
How to treat TMJ with self care and doTERRA products:*
1. Become aware of when you are clenching your teeth. This is often an unconscious habit and the first step to overcoming it is to notice when you are holding tension in your jaw. When you catch yourself clenching, relax your jaw and let your mouth hang open for a little while to help relax the jaw.
2. Use doTERRA essential oils
- For stress or anxiety: lavender oil on temples and back of neck. I use the Balance blend on my temples and back of the neck more than 4 times per day, but most importantly right after I wake up in the morning and right before bed. Balance helps me get ready to conquer the day and calms my mind before bed. I use the DigestZen blend fairly regularly to ease any digestive related ailments (on the bottom of my feet, directly on my abdomen, or in a capsule for severe digestive issues). Try this: mix Vetiver with Myrrh 1:1 and applying behind the knees right after shower in the morning. The Vetiver and Myrrh are both rather thick in nature and will process gradually and lend a calming influence throughout the day. If you need to reapply after 3 or 4 hours use same ratio.
- Aid digestion: 1 peppermint, fennel, or DigestZen blend on bottoms of feet, abdomen, or in a capsule. Use doTERRA’s TerraZyme Digestive Enzyme Complex before a meal.
- Promote regular sleep patterns: diffuse Serenity blend in the bedroom, and rub lavender and the Balance blends on the temples and back of neck. Try this: 2 Tablespoons Fractionated Coconut Oil, Sandalwood 6 drops, Wild Orange 2 drops, Ylang Ylang 2 drops, Coriander 1 drops, and Vetiver 1 drop. Rub on bottoms of feet, along the spine, back of neck, and temples.
- Calm the central nervous system: The Balance blend contains oils that are geared toward the central nervous system and other body systems. Use in times of confusion, doubt, feeling unsettled, or in need of a sense of well-being. Massage on feet, back of neck and temples. Diffuse on the go by placing a drop in the palm, rubbing palms together, cup over nose and mouth, and breathe in.
- Release internalized anger: Diffuse a combination of Wild Orange, White Fir, and Balance. Drop Wild Orange in your drinking water with Frankincense. Rub Balance and White Fir on bottoms of feet, temples, spine, and back of neck.
3. Use doTERRA’s supplements and other wellness products:
- Life Long Vitality Supplements: Alpha CRS+™, xEO Mega®, and Microplex VMz are a comprehensive dietary supplement program of essential nutrients and energy factors for lifelong vitality and wellness. Not only do these include a balanced blend of vitamins and minerals (including those deficiencies which contributed to the TMJ – B-5, Calcium, Magnesium), the LLV support digestive health, cognitive function, helps to manage stress, support bone and joint health, and support the immune system.
- dōTERRA’s TerraZyme™ Digestive Enzyme Complex is a proprietary blend of active whole food enzymes and supporting mineral cofactors that are often deficient in cooked, processed, and preservative-laden foods. TerraZyme’s powerful combination of digestive enzymes support the body’s constant production of enzymes critical for healthy biochemical functions throughout the body including healthy digestion of food nutrients and cellular metabolism of nutrients to energy. TerraZyme includes a variety of whole-food enzymes that help with digestion of proteins, fats, complex carbohydrates, sugars and fiber.
4. Give yourself a craniofacial massage: TMJ Massage Blend for jaw muscles: 1 ounce Fractionated Coconut Oil, Helichrysum 4 drops, White Fir 3 drops, Vetiver 2 drops, and Balance 2 drops. The internet holds many websites dedicated to massage and you can do a simple search by typing in: “how to give a craniofacial massage”
I hope that I have inspired you to get at the root of what is causing your TMJ. I promise your life will change with the use of doTERRA’s Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils and essential oil enhanced wellness products. You CAN get a restful sleep, ease stress and anxiety, release emotional trauma and anger, digest your food normally, and calm the central nervous system to prevent and treat TMJ.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.