If you are looking for drug-free relief from your TMJ, a TMJ dentist should be your first stop, but it’s not your only option. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is among the treatments that have been shown to be effective in helping reduce TMJ-related jaw pain and related myofascial pain.

What Is CBT?

CBT is a form of psychiatry. Unlike other forms of psychiatry you may be thinking of, CBT isn’t focused on discovering the root cause of symptoms by revealing repressed memories and the like. Instead, it’s focused on giving people practical tips that help people live a productive life despite limitations. Because of its pragmatic nature, CBT tackles a lot of issues that people don’t commonly think of as being psychological, such as chronic pain as well as the psychological manifestations that may come with chronic pain, such as depression.

How CBT Can Help People with TMJ

CBT isn’t really a TMJ treatment. It seeks to give people coping mechanisms and strategies for living with TMJ. It can help them:

  • Understand their pain is real and physical
  • Overcome excessive fear and anxiety that might prevent them from seeking treatment
  • Helping them follow through with treatment
  • Have a positive attitude toward treatment and recovery

CBT isn’t really a standalone treatment for TMJ, but it can serve as a complementary treatment for the condition.

Is CBT Effective for TMJ?

According to several studies, CBT has been shown to be effective at reducing pain, improving physical function, and decreasing depression related to TMJ. One study showed that 65% of CBT patients showed improvement in myofascial pain (compared to only 33% of patients who received home care instruction). There is also evidence that these results can be long-lasting, with patients showing improvement of TMJ symptoms a year after treatment. It should be noted, though, that strict consideration of the evidence in a Cochrane Review noted there was little evidence of its effectiveness for this and other chronic pain conditions.

If you are looking for proven effective treatment of TMJ that does more than reduce your symptoms, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a Columbia, SC TMJ dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.