Jaw Painaccording to TCM

What is Jaw Pain?

Jaw pain is an ailment that manifests as discomfort or aching in the jaw region, which can arise from the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or the muscles controlling jaw movement. The discomfort may be dull or sharp, often worsened by chewing or speaking.

It can be a symptom of various conditions, ranging from TMJ disorders to tooth infections, and can sometimes indicate more generalized conditions like arthritis. The precise nature of jaw pain can vary, being intermittent or constant, and can often be accompanied by clicking sounds or limited jaw movement.

How Does TCM View Jaw Pain?

Traditional Chinese Medicine interprets jaw pain through the lens of energetic imbalances and blockages within specific meridians. The jaw is primarily associated with the Stomach and Large Intestine Channels, so pain may be linked to disruptions in these pathways.

TCM considers factors like emotional stress, which can affect the Liver Qi and lead to Stagnation, impacting the free flow of Qi (vital energy) and Blood in the facial area. Identifying the underlying disharmony is essential to restoring balance, whether it's due to external factors like Wind and Cold or internal issues such as Qi Deficiency or Dampness.

Acupoints for Jaw Pain

In addressing jaw pain, TCM turns to acupoints that promote the smooth flow of Qi and Blood to the affected area. For instance, the Stomach Channel point Jiache ST-6 is often utilized. Located where the masseter muscle is prominent, stimulating this point is believed to alleviate tension and pain. The Neiting ST-44 point, found between the toes, is another strategic location, renowned for its ability to clear Heat and ease pain, which can be beneficial for jaw discomfort related to Stomach Heat.

Additionally, Tinghui GB-2 on the Gall Bladder Channel is targeted for its proximity to the temporomandibular joint and its potential in expelling pathogenic Wind, a common TCM cause of pain. These points, among others, are selected based on the individual's specific pattern of disharmony, and their stimulation is intended to harmonize the flow of Qi, providing relief and promoting healing.

Explore below some acupoints used to address jaw pain, organized by meridian.

  • By Meridian
  • Stomach Channel
  • Gall Bladder Channel
Jiache ST-6

Jiache ST-6

One finger-breadth anterior and superior to the lower angle of the mandible where masseter muscle attaches at the prominence of the muscle when the teeth are clenched.

Neiting ST-44

Neiting ST-44

Between the 2nd and the 3rd toes, proximal to the interdigital fold.

Tinghui GB-2

Tinghui GB-2

Anterior to the intertragic notch, directly below Tinggong SI-19, at the posterior border of the condyloid process of the mandible.