Non-Pharmaceutical Non-Surgical Non-Invasive Treatment Options for TMJ Pain

by Will Bozeman

We’ve covered a variety of conditions as well as their various nonsurgical treatments, highlighting the pros and cons of each in comparison to treatment with Neuragenex. It is with certainty that we hold the treatments provided by Neuragenex head-and-shoulders above the rest because of their non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical, non-invasive, and non-chiropractic application and lasting effects. That being said, patients weighing treatment options between Neuragenex and other nonsurgical methods, may wonder if Neuragenex is the right fit for them. 

It should be understood that because treatments with Neuragenex directly target pain neurons and pain reporting system, with their high pulse electrical stimulation protocol called Neuralgesia, any musculoskeletal pain condition can and should be considered treatable using the proprietary Neuralgesia protocol by Neuragenex. Patients suffering from these conditions chronic pain conditions often have no safe and effective or long lasting option for treatment. These conditions, several of which have been discussed in previous articles, affect the lives of tens of millions of Americans every day. The prevailing preference of all patients is that they are able to find a treatment that does not produce unfavorable side effects and has lasting results, and avoid the endless medications, surgeries, invasive injections and implants, and endless chiropractic sessions that may or may not bring relief or with questionable successful results. No matter the condition, its duration, or predisposition to cause chronic pain, Neuragenex has a solution. 

With the subject matter of unique pain conditions in mind, we must now turn to a condition whose obscurity and lack of familiarity may preclude some from seeking treatment at all, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. The two temporomandibular joints connect your jaw to the base of your skull, and you can think of them as the hinges that allow you to open your mouth when speaking or eating. Needless to say, the joints are crucial elements of everyday life. Patients who experience TMJ pain may even experience malnutrition, due to pain from chewing essential foods. The direct cause of TMJ pain is not easily determined and it can be due to multiple factors including injury, arthritis, or even the habitual grinding of teeth. The most common causation for TMJ pain is the arthritis that wears down the disk that lies between the TMJ and the base of your skull. Normally this disk would absorb the impact or shock from the chewing and sliding of the jaw. Much like the disks that lie between the vertebrae in our spines, the disks in our TMJ will wear out over time and due to the risk factors discussed. Regardless of the cause of TMJ pain, the hassle of living with this condition cannot be understated. 

Patients, when asked to explain their experiences with TMJ pain, will often cite their acquaintance with one or both joints increasing in pain. Patients, over time and without treatment, explain how the pain increases to the point where they will not or cannot open their mouths due to the locking of these joints. One unfamiliar with the condition of TMJ pain can only imagine the issues this would cause for patients who wish to eat, drink, and clearly communicate. However, TMJ pain, while painful and frustrating, is not unfamiliar or elusive to the medical community. And fortunately, nonsurgical treatments exist for the condition. However, the most important thing that must be considered by patients seeking treatment for any painful condition is that they consider the ramifications associated with each treatment option, both positive and negative.


Nonsurgical Treatment Options

In order to determine and fairly explicate nonsurgical treatment methods for TMJ pain, we must understand and recall the condition’s distinctive nature. A less understood condition such as TMJ pain will undoubtedly have its unique treatments and essential protocols for the application of those treatments. In a 2019 study published in AIMS Public Health, Doctor Ehsan Shoohanizad and peers determined that the “TMJ has unique features that distinguishes it from other human body joints. Cases of TMJ injury and TMD [temporomandibular disorders] require specific treatments. Therefore, early diagnosis of TMD is essential” (2019). Knowing that the early diagnosis of TMJ pain– or “TMD” as it is referred to here– is essential to treatment, we must understand that many go untreated because they may not know there is an available treatment for such an obscure condition. Patients experiencing TMJ pain may not even know they have a problem, much less options to solve that problem. And because of the ignorance surrounding the condition, many do not gain the treatment they need in time for full and lasting recovery. 

Shoohanizad, after pressing the importance of early diagnosis, lists the most notable treatment methods including, “. . . oral steroids, Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, methotrexate 75 mg, and combination therapy with methotrexate”. However, these treatments, being the most widely accepted and understood by the medical community, are not without their side effects. 

We must make it clear that our intention is not to disparage the opinions of the medical community. Rather, our goal is to review treatments with objective reasoning through careful analysis of the efficacy, side effects, and lasting results of each recommended treatment and weigh our analysis of these treatments in contrast with the efficacy, side effects, and lasting results of treatment with Neuragenex. With these parameters in mind, we hope to provide those seeking treatment for pain– particularly TMJ pain– an informed perspective which they can then use to find effective treatment. 

The first treatment for TMJ pain cited by Shoohanizad is the use of oral steroids. It is widely known that steroids have a litany of side effects and are often viewed, perhaps with prejudice, as drugs that should not be considered to treat minor conditions. Needless to say, steroids are a divisive method for treatment. Many patients who have used steroids for treatment, including treatment for TMJ pain, will either experience the numerous side effects, but still appreciate how the treatment with steroids makes them feel, since pain relief is the primary objective of these treatment protocols. Regardless of the opinion of patients and their experience with steroid treatment, side effects are undeniable and sometimes deadly. In a 2019 study conducted by doctors Dara Grennan and Sheila Wang, it was confirmed that steroids “. . . reduce the ability of the immune system to function (immunosuppression). Patients taking steroids are not only more susceptible to infections but more likely to have severe or unusual infections”.  These medical professionals continue to explain the severe side effects of steroids by comparing them to cortisol, your body’s primary stress hormone. Grennan and Wang conclude that, “. . . because steroids are so similar to cortisol, prolonged use of systemic steroids at higher doses can cause the adrenal glands to stop making cortisol. If the systemic steroid is stopped suddenly, this adrenal suppression and resulting lack of steroid can cause a wide range of symptoms, such as dangerously low blood pressure”. Although steroids can act as a powerful anti-inflammatory treatment for TMJ pain and many patients enjoy how they feel while on steroids, patients of TMJ pain must carefully consider these treatment options in relation to their condition.

Disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), including methotrexate, are a specific type of drug that purposely target the conditions that result from arthritis. TMJ pain, commonly a result of arthritis, would likely be a condition that DMARDs seek to ameliorate. DMARDs not only include methotrexate, but drugs like hydroxychloroquine, sulfasalazine, and leflunomide. In a 2018 study conducted by doctors Benjamin Onecia and his associates, it was concluded that DMARDs, while often effective at treating conditions related to arthritis, have a shocking number of side effects. The study concluded that side effects of DMARDs include, “[g]astrointestinal distress (nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea), rash/allergic reaction, bone marrow suppression, hepatotoxicity, and higher incidence of common and sometimes serious infections are common adverse effects of all these agents. Both methotrexate and leflunomide can cause alopecia. Other adverse effects unique to methotrexate include interstitial lung disease, folic acid deficiency, and liver cirrhosis. Leflunomide can cause hypertension, peripheral neuropathy, and weight loss. Sulfasalazine has a very high risk of gastrointestinal distress” (2018). With the wide array and variety of side effects plaguing the otherwise effective treatment for TMJ pain, most patients will likely seek an alternative. The survey continues to list several other side effects of DMARDs, the most concerning of which is, “. . .  an increased risk of common and serious infections, including bacterial, fungal, and viral infections”. And so, we are left with many of the same concerns we had with steroids as an effective treatment. The side effects of these treatments for TMJ pain are simply too numerous and too serious to consider. 

Finally, the third treatment for TMJ pain mentioned by Shoohanizad is the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. We have spoken at length about the effects, both positive and negative, of NSAIDs when used as a treatment for any pain. In our studies, particularly in relation to the use of NSAIDs as a supplement to other forms of treatment, we found that there are (again) several side effects that should be considered and understood by patients. We will, however, consider some of the pros related to NSAID treatment. 

NSAIDs are predominantly safe and therefore readily available to most of the population and while these drugs can provide temporary relief, there are other effects that should be considered by patients. While not directly addictive to patients who take NSAIDs to deal with pain, the risk of dependency cannot be dismissed. NSAIDs, by their very nature, have a temporary effect. The effects of NSAIDs, while often effective at treating pain, are short lived and do not last long enough for patients to experience relief over a long period of time. One who experiences the effects of TMJ pain for long periods of time will know that NSAIDs are not going to be a lasting treatment for their pain. However, when used in conjunction with other treatment methods, NSAIDs may provide relief long enough for patients to work through those treatment methods. 

For many patients, the minor efficacy of NSAIDs can cause dependency and even overdose. The mild nature of NSAIDs often leads to patients desiring heavier doses outside of the recommendation which is a dangerous step that should not be considered when treating TMJ pain. It must be communicated to those seeking effective treatment that NSAIDs, like all drugs, are not without their side-effects. In a study done in February of 2020, doctors V.K. Sharma and associates concluded that, “[a]lthough NSAIDs are among the most commonly utilized drugs, their use is associated with a broad spectrum of side effects, which may include gastrointestinal and cardiovascular toxicity” (2020). While patients may experience the effects of NSAIDs, both positive and negative, they may also question the efficacy of treatment options that they supplement.


Solutions with Neuragenex

Any musculoskeletal pain condition may be effectively treated with our proprietary Neuralgesia treatment protocol, and when it comes to TMJ pain, treatment options with Neuragenex should be your first consideration. 

Along with a solution to many other painful conditions, Neuragenex offers a solution to the pain associated with TMJ pain. Because many chronic pain conditions are a result of the persistent pain neuron firing and nerve function, Neuragenex’s method for diminishing this pain is based on multiple physiologic effects that combine to produce enduring pain relieve. Neuragenex uses a proprietary treatment protocols called Neuralgesia, which is a combination of high pulse electrical stimulation, called electroanalgesia, to send consistent high energy pulses of electrical current deep into the tissue to activate and heal damages tissues, and to depolarize pain neurons, as previously mentioned, and creates a persistent sustained depolarization effect on the pain neurons, which creates a long-term pain relief. Reduced pain signaling results in reduces inflammation response, which results in better fluid dynamics through the affected area, meaning better blood flow and lymphatic flow to provide nutrients and remove waste more effectively from the damaged tissues, which in turn allows the tissues to health as best they can during this reduced pain period. Neuralgesia also involved the addition of specialized hydration therapy with a unique mixture of vitamins and minerals delivered via IV therapy to add fluid volume to the body and help the hydration effect that is needed to relieve the damaged tissues and help reduce pain. These two elements combined create the long-term pain relief that is associated with Neuralgesia therapy and is the hallmark of Neuragenex. 

Many patients report pain relief after only one treatment session, and relief may continue to last for months if a patient completes the entire treatment program. TMJ pain and many other chronic pain conditions are treated with the Neuralgesia treatment protocol created exclusively by Neuragenex. The mission statement for Neuragenex is to relieve pain, restore health, and magnify quality of life without medications, surgery, or invasive procedures. Our vision is to be the first thought, first choice, and first step in the journey of chronic pain treatment.


Table of Contents