Effective TMJ Migraine Relief Through Acupuncture

Written by Dr. Kyle Bilquist

If you suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) migraines, you know how debilitating the pain can be. What makes this type of migraine unique is that it originates from the TMJ, a joint that connects the jaw to the skull. Many factors can contribute to TMJ-related migraine pain, including stress, teeth grinding, improper bite, and poor posture. Also, due to the proximity of the TMJ to the nerves and muscles running through the face, neck, and head, TMJ issues can lead to tension and migraines, making it important to address the underlying issue for lasting relief.

At The Source Wellness Center, we are dedicated to offering alternative therapies that holistically address the root cause of your discomfort rather than merely masking the symptoms with temporary solutions. Acupuncture, in particular, has shown promising results in providing effective relief for TMJ-related migraines, as it treats both the pain associated with the migraines and the underlying contributing factors. In this article, we will explore the science behind acupuncture and how it could be the key to finding lasting relief from your TMJ migraines.

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical practice that involves inserting fine needles into specific points on the body to balance energy and promote healing. In Western medicine, acupuncture is recognized for its ability to stimulate the release of endorphins and other natural pain relief substances in the body. This process can provide relief for various types of pain, including TMJ migraines.

Studies have shown that acupuncture can successfully decrease the intensity and frequency of migraines by boosting blood flow in key areas of the brain, thus increasing pain threshold levels. In terms of TMJ-related migraines specifically, acupuncture can help by relaxing the muscles around the jaw and neck, reducing inflammation and tension in the affected area. Furthermore, acupuncture can help address additional factors contributing to TMJ dysfunction, such as stress and emotional imbalances.

Effective TMJ Migraine Relief Through Acupuncture: A Comprehensive Guide

If you suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) migraines, you are all too familiar with the debilitating pain this condition brings. The good news is that acupuncture, an ancient Chinese medical practice, might be the secret to finding lasting relief from TMJ migraines. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how acupuncture works, its benefits specifically for TMJ migraine sufferers, and what you can expect during an acupuncture session.

Understanding TMJ Migraines

Temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMDs, often result from an imbalance in the jaw muscles and the temporomandibular joint itself. This imbalance can be caused or exacerbated by factors such as poor posture, teeth grinding, stress, or an improper bite. A TMJ migraine is a headache that occurs due to the tension and pain generated by the TMJ. This kind of migraine is typically characterized by a dull, aching pain around the temples, jaw, and neck, as well as facial and ear pain.

The Science Behind Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been practiced for over 2,000 years as a method of promoting the body’s natural healing process. Fine needles are inserted into specific points on the body, known as acupuncture points or meridians, to stimulate the flow of vital energy or “qi” and restore balance within the body.

From a Western medicine perspective, acupuncture is believed to work by initiating the release of certain neurotransmitters, such as endorphins and enkephalins, which naturally relieve pain. Additionally, acupuncture has been shown to increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the regrowth of nerves and tissues.

The Role of Acupuncture in TMJ Migraine Relief

There are several reasons why acupuncture can be an effective treatment for TMJ migraine relief. Some of these include:

1. Addressing Muscle Tension and Inflammation

Misaligned jaw muscles can lead to tension and inflammation, further aggravating the TMJ and causing migraines. Acupuncture can help relax these muscles by stimulating specific points related to the jaw and surrounding areas to provide relief and improve function.

2. Reducing Stress and Emotional Imbalances

Many people experiencing TMJ migraines have a higher propensity for stress, anxiety, and emotional imbalance. Acupuncture has been proven to be effective in calming the body’s fight-or-flight response, promoting relaxation, and reducing stress-induced muscle tension.

3. Improving Blood Circulation

Poor blood circulation can contribute to TMJ dysfunction, as it may lead to muscle weakness, numbness, or restricted movement in the jaw. Acupuncture has been shown to improve blood flow in specific areas of the body, thus helping to alleviate the symptoms associated with TMJ migraines.

What to Expect During an Acupuncture Session

Your First Visit

During your initial visit, your acupuncturist will conduct a comprehensive assessment, which typically involves reviewing your medical history, discussing your symptoms, and examining the affected area. This assessment allows the acupuncturist to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

Treatment Procedure

Acupuncture sessions usually last 30-60 minutes, depending on the severity of your symptoms and your treatment plan. You will be asked to lie on a comfortable treatment table, often with soothing music playing in the background to aid relaxation. The acupuncturist will then insert sterile, very thin needles into the specific points associated with TMJ migraine relief. You may feel a slight sensation of warmth, pressure, or tingling, which is entirely normal.

Post-Treatment and Maintenance

Immediately after the treatment, you may experience a reduction in pain and an increased sense of relaxation. However, multiple sessions are often recommended to achieve and maintain long-term results. Your acupuncturist will advise you on the recommended frequency of sessions based on your needs and progress.


TMJ migraines can be a real burden on your daily life, but acupuncture offers a promising alternative to conventional treatments. By targeting the root causes of your discomfort and providing relief through a holistic approach, acupuncture can help you get back to living a life free from the debilitating pain of TMJ-related migraines. The Source Wellness Center is here to support you on your journey toward a pain-free life; give us a call today to schedule your first acupuncture session.