Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) causes debilitating jaw pain and headaches that are so severe, many people mistake them for migraines. Because their TMD is so severe, patients are often pushed in the direction of invasive surgery. Since they fear the prospect of painful surgeries that make permanent changes to the temporomandibular joint, patients are often willing to try any sort of TMD remedy, even if it sounds too good to be true. Unfortunately, this desperation has opened the door for companies, which seek to profit by selling gimmicky devices that fail to address the root cause of the disorder.
Recently, a company named Holistic Technologies issued a promotional media release pitching a product it claims has the power to relieve common symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder. Dubbed “biofeedback headbands,” these products supposedly work by conditioning the user into making behavior modifications that will help relieve their TMD. According to the manufacturer, users wear a headband which has the power to sense jaw clenching during sleep. When users clench, the headband supposedly senses changes in the temporalis muscles at the temples. When it does, it emits a sound which prompts the user to stop clenching. According to Holistic Technologies, over time, this process will cause users to stop clenching their jaws during sleep, thereby indirectly relieving common TMD symptoms, such as headaches, neck pain, tooth pain and jaw pain.
Is it a Realistic Approach?
Unfortunately for TMD sufferers, biofeedback headbands aren’t a realistic approach to treating TMJ disorder. Any reasonable person can see a problem with a treatment that emits annoying noises during sleep. Not only is this likely to lead to frequent waking and sleep deprivation; it’s not likely to have any sort of impact on jaw clenching while a person is unconscious. It also fails to address the most common root cause of temporomandibular joint disorder: a misaligned bite.
An Effective Treatment
Holistic remedies such as acupuncture, massage, yoga and biofeedback headbands all have one thing in common: they cannot provide lasting TMD relief, because they cannot correct a sufferer’s misaligned bite.