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The Use of TENS Therapy in TMD

For many patients throughout the world, the use of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, or TENS, therapy has been used for many years. One of the first places this type of therapy was used was in the treatment of lower back pain, especially by doctors of chiropractic medicine.

Over the years, TENS therapy has become more widely accepted and used throughout all types of medicine. One of those areas in particular is in the treatment of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMD.

 

What is TENS Therapy?

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, or TENS, therapy is the use of low voltage, most often powered by a small battery pack, to stimulate nerves just under the skin. TENS therapy is completely safe and has very limited risks involved with using it.

 

How does TENS Therapy Work?

By passing a low voltage across nerves, this causes the muscles innervated, or attached, by those nerves to relax.

 

Who Performs TENS Therapy?

TENS therapy can be performed by many people. Many times a member of the doctor’s office staff will perform the therapy in their office, or even by the doctor himself, or herself.

On other occasions, the doctor may prescribe a TENS unit to be used at home. This unit is very safe and will come with straightforward instructions on its home care use.

 

How does TENS Therapy Work for The Treatment of TMD?

Many causes of TMD are muscular in origin. With this being said, the muscles of the jaw joints may have become inflamed from extended over contraction. This is a very common occurrence in patients that clench or grind their teeth.

By applying TENS therapy across the muscles of the jaw joints, this will prevent them from being in a state of constant contraction. In a way, the TENS unit will reset the neuromuscular component of the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ.

 

Is TENS Therapy Right For Me?

The only way to know if TENS therapy may be right for a patient is to be evaluated by that patient’s physician or dentist. After a comprehensive evaluation, the medical or dental team will determine the appropriate route of care with, or without, TENS therapy.

Conclusion

TENS therapy has been used for many years for the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. In more recent years, it has been adapted for use in many other parts of the body. TENS therapy has promising results in the treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD.

 

References

  1. Comparison of effectiveness of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve and Kinesio Taping added to exercises in patients with myofascial syndrome.
    Azatcam G, Atalay NS, Akkaya N, Sahin F, Aksoy S, Zincir O, Topuz O.
    J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2016 Nov 11.
  2. Shockwave Therapy for Pain Associated with Upper Extremity Orthopedic Disorders: A Review of the Clinical and Cost-Effectiveness [Internet].Ottawa (ON): Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health; 2016 Sep 1.
  3. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation current status of evidence.Johnson MI, Jones G.Pain Manag. 2017 Jan;7(1):1-4.
  4. Evaluation of Efficacy of Ultrasonography in the Assessment of Transcutaneous Electrical NerveStimulation in Subjects with Myositis and Myofascial Pain.Patil S, Iyengar AR, Kotni RM, B V S, Joshi RK.Korean J Pain. 2016 Jan;29(1):12-7.
  5. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation therapy: An adjuvant pain controlling modality inTMD patients – A clinical study.Shanavas M, Chatra L, Shenai P, Rao PK, Jagathish V, Kumar SP, Naduvakkattu B.Dent Res J (Isfahan). 2014 Nov;11(6):676-9.
Justin Clemens

Justin Clemens

Dr. Justin Clemens is an alumnus of Purdue University Schools of Engineering and Indiana University School of Dentistry. He chose to pursue a dual degree program at the University of Kentucky and Chandler Medical Center. In 2007, he graduated with a certificate in periodontics. In 2009, he published groundbreaking bone research, leading to a master’s degree.

Dr. Clemens has since devoted the majority of his career to implant therapy. His career practicing was, unfortunately, cut short when he was involved in a tragic automobile accident in 2014. He now devotes his life to the education of dentists in implant therapy.
Justin Clemens

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