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You can use biofeedback to help reduce muscle tension related to
temporomandibular disorder (TMD).
Biofeedback uses equipment that monitors muscle tension or skin
temperature. Electrodes are placed on your jaw muscles. The electrodes detect electrical current produced by muscle
contraction. If you clench your teeth or have poor
posture, the biofeedback machine produces a signal. It might be an upward-pointing
arrow or a beeping sound. As you relax, the arrow goes back down or the beeping
stops or slows.
You and the biofeedback therapist monitor these visual measurements. You learn to recognize when emotional tension makes muscles tight and when
relaxation makes muscles loosen. Under the therapist's guidance, you can use
this information to learn relaxation techniques for controlling muscle tension
and skin temperature.
Biofeedback is a conscious, learned relaxation. It may not be as
effective as hypnosis techniques, which work on the subconscious level. Most
habits like jaw clenching and tooth grinding are done unconsciously, often
during sleep or times of intense concentration.
January 11, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
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