When someone visits a masseuse for relief from muscle and/or joint pain, they are usually treated with a variety of oils. Sedative essential oils are used to relax the body and relieve stress, especially when combined with fragrances used in aromatherapy.

Lavender, an essential oil

Essential Oils Recommended for TMJ

Some of the most widely-used essential oils for TMJ pain include lavender, chamomile, yarrow, rosemary, and eucalyptus. Each oil is said to promote different responses in the body. While some purport to offer anti-inflammatory qualities, others are said to work as anti-depressants, detoxifiers and analgesics.

However, there is little evidence of their effectiveness, and in some cases we find that there might be very concrete risks that have to be balanced against the unproven benefits. Here is a summary of some of the research on each of these essential oils.

Lavender

Lavender is commonly recommended because of its soothing scent. Many people find this to be a very relaxing oil. This can be a potentially important mechanism, as many people have TMJ pain that’s secondary to stress.

There is also reasonable evidence to suggest that lavender might be somewhat effective. Lavender has proven anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been shown to be effective against nerve pain. Lavender has even been proven to be an antispasmodic. Since these are all potential sources of TMJ pain, this makes lavender one of the most promising essential oils for TMJ relief.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is commonly used for pain relief in many contexts, and there is good support for this application. It’s been shown to relieve pain and reduce blood pressure when inhaled, but its anti-inflammatory properties are less well-proven. It seems to work by blocking nerve signals, but the exact mechanism is unclear.

Chamomile

Chamomile is well-known as a potential sleep aid, especially as tea. However, it’s also a promising remedy for TMJ pain. That’s because chamomile is an effective anti-inflammatory herb. In addition, chamomile has been used effectively for a number of joint conditions, so it should be helpful for problems in the temporomandibular joint.

Yarrow

Yarrow is an herb that’s long been used medicinally. In fact, its scientific name, Achillea, refers to the fact that it was used by Achilles in the Iliad of Homer and supposedly during the historical Trojan War. Yarrow has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory herb. However, there are some cautions here. Yarrow is also known to be mildly toxic, and it can affect sperm production. In addition, some essential oils derived from yarrow include phthalate derivatives, which can increase cancer risk and affect a woman’t ability to carry a healthy pregnancy to term.

Rosemary

Rosemary essential oil has been proven to be effective in reducing musculoskeletal pain. It’s about as effective as menthol. Rosemary essential oil has also been shown to reduce inflammation.

Essential Oils Are a Great Supplemental Treatment

While sedative essential oils may offer some relief from TMJ symptoms, such as jaw pain, neck pain, facial pain and migraines; the results are only temporary. For patients to experience continued relief, they must get routine massages or other exposure to the essential oils. Additionally, patients who are allergic to sedative essential oils aren’t able to use them to relieve the pain associated with TMJ.

In the end, essential oils aren’t suitable for everyone. Though oils may be able to help relieve some TMJ-related pain, they cannot target the main cause of your TMJ symptoms: improper jaw alignment. Poor alignment can only be fixed by determining your ideal bite and using proper TMJ treatment to help hold your jaw in the correct position. To learn about TMJ treatment and how it can cure your symptoms for good, contact Dr. Berry online or call (303) 691-0267 today.