Biofeedback for TM disorders

You can use biofeedback to help reduce temporomandibular (TM) disorder-related muscle tension.

Biofeedback uses equipment that monitors muscle tension or skin temperature. Electrodes, which detect electrical current produced by muscle contraction, are placed on jaw muscles. If you clench your teeth or have poor posture, the biofeedback machine produces a signal, such as 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 and 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, and 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.

Last Updated: January 13, 2010

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