Your temporomandibular joints are located on either side of your head, connecting your lower jaw to the rest of your face. Every time you yawn, bite, or gasp, you use the two hinge joints to open and close your mouth.
Painful jaw joints are often due to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), which can lead to headaches, jaw clicking, grating, or jaw locking, in addition to pain or discomfort. Many causes and contributing factors can lead to the dysfunction of these joints, but finding relief is most likely your first priority.
Specializing in evidence-based care, Naples Regenerative Institute provides personalized treatment for TMJ using MLS Class IV laser treatments and injectable treatments to help your tissues heal. Located in Naples, Florida, our office is equipped with the necessary resources to relieve your musculoskeletal pain. Double board-certified pain management specialist Dr. Glenn M. Flanagan, MD, is here to meet your needs and find a way to restore the function of the joints in your jaw.
Consider prolotherapy as one of the first-line treatments for TMJ. This minimally invasive treatment has plenty of research backing it and is a great first step for relieving jaw pain.
Prolotherapy is an injection treatment that uses a sugar solution to initiate healing inside and around painful joints. More specifically, the concentrated sugar solution causes a slight inflammatory response in the targeted tissue that signals healing cells to enter the area and repair the damage.
Many treatments work in a similar way. In fact, Dr. Flanagan might use multiple healing treatments simultaneously to help you avoid needing surgery for TMJ healing and pain relief. Physical therapy is always a necessity. MLS laser treatments provided in his office have provided great benefits for patients with TMJ. Additionally, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an injectable healing substance often offered with prolotherapy to increase healing. We’ll get into that later in this blog.
When prolotherapy is appropriate
Prolotherapy treats a range of chronic musculoskeletal conditions, including TMJ. Chronic jaw pain can make it difficult to chew and speak clearly, especially if you experience jaw stiffness or locking, too.
As time goes on, the muscles in your jaw can become weak and loose. That makes TMJ symptoms worse and can leave you vulnerable to increased injuries to the jaw joints. Dr. Flanagan may suggest prolotherapy as a nonsurgical treatment if you experience any of the following long-term TMJ symptoms:
- Jaw pain
- Pain around your ear
- Jaw locking
- Trouble with chewing
- Recurrent headaches
- Ringing in your ears
- Jaw swelling or enlargement
- Tired jaw muscles
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds when you move your jaw
While multiple factors can contribute to TMJ pain and other symptoms, a common cause is bruxism. In fact, of the 20% of the population that grinds their teeth at night, around 20% experience symptoms of TMJ.
Considering modern alternatives
Sometimes, prolotherapy is a first-resort option for the treatment of TMJ. If you experience minimal or no relief from the treatment, Dr. Flanagan might suggest turning to PRP. While prolotherapy has been around for much longer than PRP, evidence suggests PRP is often more effective than prolotherapy because of the growth factors included in the injections.
PRP comes from a processed sample of your blood that has been altered to include only liquid plasma and platelets. Those platelets not only clot your blood, but they also release growth factors for tissue rejuvenation.
Keep in mind that all PRP treatments are not the same, even for musculoskeletal injuries. Dr. Flanagan determines the necessary dosage based on the extent of your TMJ damage and delivers the injections precisely using live fluoroscopy and/or ultrasound guidance.
Get help for your jaw pain today
You don’t have to continue struggling to chew and speak because of a stiff or painful jaw. Schedule a treatment consultation over the phone or online at Naples Regenerative Institute for prolotherapy and alternative TMJ treatments today.