Being pain free means freedom, freedom to do the things we want, being able to sleep well and making the most out of life. Whilst pain is normally not life threatening, it can be very frustrating, limiting and debilitating for the sufferer. Just recently, Dentist Dr Simin Soltani from Dentist Smile Clinic Surbiton, Chiropractor Dr Sanvir Maharaj of Healing Hands Richmond and Physiotherapist Kate Sheehy from Richmond Physiotherapy (all of whom who I recommend to my clients) told me that they are seeing many people with TMJ syndrome, which is more commonly known as jaw pain.
What TMJ syndrome is
TMJ syndrome (Temporomandibular joint) is a disorder of the jaw muscles and nerves caused by injury or inflammation to the temporomandibular joint which connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ and Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are more common in women aged 18-44 and can be caused by a number of issues from jaw misalignment, physical trauma or injury to the head, teeth or jaw, poor posture and arthritis.
It can cause a variety of symptoms from headaches, to aching pain around the ear, joint locking or popping and difficulty chewing.
The root cause is not always a physical issue
With this list of issues, you can see why people are seeing a variety of health professionals from dentists, to ear, nose and throat doctors, physios, chiropractors and joint specialists for jaw pain. However, the dentist, chiropractor and physiotherapist all acknowledged that from their experience, the root cause is not always an 'issue with the tissue', a physical issue.
They recognise that it can’t always be solved by physical adjustments because the pain is often linked to an emotional issue - hence our working together. The latest research and the NHS state that pain, including TMJ pain, can be caused by or made worse by an over sensitive nervous system triggered by anxiety, stress or emotional traumas including childhood traumas.
Why it’s emotional
The body stores emotional memories in the body. It’s not widely known that those unreleased emotions can create or increase pain. It’s the body's way of trying to get your attention to deal with whatever you are feeling.
So even if you are in tip top form physically, the pain can keep coming back until you release those emotions or memories. Emotional pain can show up in the same place (often an old injury point or a weak area), sometimes in a different place and can come and go.
This explains why people can often have good days and bad days with pain.
Why the jaw?
The jaw is a very common place to hold tension and emotional stress, especially emotions of anger, resentment and desire for revenge, all of which can create tense muscles, jaw clenching and pain. Pain causes stress (as well as more anger, resentment and frustration!), stress causes pain and also makes us more sensitive to toxins and other disruptive energies like wi-fi, mobile phones.
So it is not surprising that people get stuck in a loop. It’s one of the reasons why painkillers won’t help long term as they are not dealing with the emotional element that may be one of the root causes.
Here are my 4 top tips for pain
1. Don’t ignore the pain, even if it’s a niggle. It’s the body’s cry for help, like a warning light on your dashboard that won’t go away until you fix it. Pain in one area can often be linked to another area, for example the jaw is linked to the hip and lower back, so wherever the pain is showing up, take notice of it.
2. Understand your pain and your pain triggers. Is it happening at a regular time or when you are doing a specific activity? If you were to connect to that pain, what emotion is sitting in it? Are you full of anger or resentment and unable to let go of past experiences? Is the pain worse after certain foods, when you don’t drink enough water or when you are tired? Do you feel more pain after being at your desk or being on the phone or computer?
3. Small changes make a big difference. Look at ways to improve your sleep, your posture, do appropriate exercise for your body and build it up slowly – a 20 minute walk every day is awesome exercise a few times a week, eat anti-inflammatory and stress reducing foods like avocados, bananas, berries, sweet potato, oatmeal, spinach, swiss chard or dark chocolate (in moderation!), take time to rest, relax and recharge.
4. Never give up hope. There are many ways you can instantly support your body by reducing physical and emotional stresses, you just need to find the right support for you.
Helping clients with TMJ
I recently helped a client with TMJ pain to release stuck emotions. She was advised to use the technique I use, Emotional Freedom Technique, by Dr Andrea Haas from the Royal London Integrated Hospital for Integrated Medicine in Great Ormond Street. Here’s what she had to say:-
“After having TMJ (jaw) pain for some time, my NHS dentist referred me to a dental hospital, where they offered a multidisciplinary approach to managing the condition. This included acupuncture at the NHS London Integrated Hospital. The doctor there also suggested EFT as a way of getting to the root of any underlying anxieties.
Lou is a local practitioner and pain was an area she specialises in. She was very friendly on the phone and I booked in for a session, which was great. I think using EFT helps me to accept my anxieties rather than to resist them. It also helps to put them into context and not be consumed by them. Lou is a supportive practitioner. “ Katie, Surbiton
Everyone's body is unique as are the factors causing pain
Freedom from pain comes from working on your specific physical and emotional triggers of the pain. That’s why I collaborate with other health practitioners and why the NHS encourages patients in pain to work with professionals to understand any physical issues and also to reduce the emotional stresses and release stuck emotions that are disrupting the body.
If you would like me to support you to find pain relief and freedom, please call for a no- obligation 20 minute chat. If I am not the right person to support you at this time, I will give you details from my trusted network of practitioners including those below who share my belief that physical and emotional wellness can give you freedom from pain.
All good wishes.