Dry Needling Benefits to Treat TMJ Pain and Dysfunction

Dry needling is a treatment technique that has gained popularity in recent years for its effectiveness in managing various types of pain, including temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. TMJ pain can be debilitating, affecting a person’s ability to eat, speak, and even sleep comfortably. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of dry needling for TMJ pain, focusing on its effects on fibroblast activity for regenerating collagen fibers, acetylcholine release, and its impact on the lateral pterygoid and masseter muscles.

The temporomandibular joint is a complex joint that connects the jaw to the skull, allowing for movements such as chewing, talking, and yawning. TMJ pain can arise from various factors, including muscle tightness, inflammation, or dysfunction in the joint itself. Symptoms of TMJ pain may include jaw stiffness, clicking or popping sounds when moving the jaw, and pain or tenderness in the jaw joint.


Dry needling involves the insertion of thin needles into trigger points or tight bands of muscles to elicit a therapeutic response. Unlike acupuncture, which is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine and focuses on restoring the flow of energy, dry needling targets specific muscle trigger points to release tension and reduce pain.


One of the key benefits of dry needling for TMJ pain is its ability to stimulate fibroblast activity for regenerating collagen fibers. Fibroblasts are cells that play a crucial role in tissue repair and wound healing by producing collagen, the main structural protein in connective tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and skin.


When dry needling is performed on the muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joint, it can trigger a cascade of events that lead to increased fibroblast activity. This, in turn, promotes the regeneration of collagen fibers in the affected muscles, helping to improve their flexibility and strength.


Another mechanism through which dry needling exerts its benefits on TMJ pain is by promoting the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in muscle contraction and relaxation. When dry needling is performed on trigger points in the muscles of the jaw and face, it can stimulate the release of acetylcholine, leading to muscle relaxation and reduced tension.

By targeting specific trigger points associated with TMJ pain, dry needling can help to break the cycle of muscle tightness and spasm, allowing the muscles to relax and function more efficiently. This can not only reduce pain and discomfort but also improve jaw mobility and function.

The lateral pterygoid muscle is a key muscle involved in jaw movement, playing a crucial role in tasks such as chewing and speaking. Dysfunction or tightness in the lateral pterygoid muscle can contribute to TMJ pain and dysfunction, leading to symptoms such as jaw stiffness and clicking sounds.. 


Videos Discussing TMJ Issues & Dry Needling Treatetment:

Dry needling can be particularly effective in targeting trigger points within the lateral pterygoid muscle, helping to release tension and improve its function. By promoting relaxation and reducing muscle tightness, dry needling can alleviate pain and improve jaw mobility in individuals with TMJ disorders.


The masseter muscle is another important muscle involved in chewing and jaw movement. Excessive tension or trigger points in the masseter muscle can contribute to TMJ pain and discomfort, affecting a person’s ability to eat and speak comfortably.


Dry needling of the masseter muscle can help to release tension, reduce pain, and improve muscle function. By targeting trigger points within the masseter muscle, dry needling can promote relaxation, increase blood flow, and stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, providing relief for individuals suffering from TMJ pain.


In conclusion, dry needling offers a promising treatment option for individuals suffering from temporomandibular joint pain. By targeting trigger points in the muscles surrounding the jaw joint, dry needling can promote fibroblast activity for collagen regeneration, stimulate acetylcholine release for muscle relaxation, and improve the function of key muscles such as the lateral pterygoid and masseter muscles.


If you are experiencing TMJ pain or dysfunction, consider consulting a qualified healthcare provider who is trained in dry needling to see if this technique may be beneficial for you. With its ability to address muscle tension, promote tissue repair, and alleviate pain, dry needling has the potential to help you find relief and improve your quality of life.


If you’re still battling pain you can’t seem to shake and this problem is limiting you from doing the activities that you LOVE, give us a shout today at 561-899-8725 or email us directly at Team@AthleteRC.com we can directly diagnose what the problem is and how to solve it together for the long-term.


Imagine getting that pain fixed – allowing you to really get after your workouts and do the activities you LOVE most in life. We can help solve this problem for you.

Have other questions or need assistance with a current injury? Reach out to us and learn how we may be able to help!