About Photobiomodulation Therapy for TMJ Disorder

woman laying on table getting photobiomodulation therapy

About Photobiomodulation Therapy for TMJ Disorder

You’ve likely heard of someone feeling fatigued and irritable after their circadian rhythm gets off track or how winter days with little sunlight can cause “seasonal depression” (seasonal affective disorders or “S.A.D.”), vitamin D deficiencies, and vision problems. But did you know that our bodies’ daily exposure to natural light can significantly impact our mood, sleep cycle, stress levels, and pain on a day-to-day basis? 

These phenomena are often related to an internal biological process called Photobiomodulation (PBM), which occurs when specific wavelengths of light interact with cells in the body. Interestingly, experts over the past few decades have developed technology to provide patients with PBM-powered therapies (PBMTs) approved to treat many disorders—most commonly pain, inflammation, and injury. 

One of the pain-related conditions approved for PBMT treatment with PBMTs is TMJ Disorder (temporomandibular disorder), which is one of our main areas of practice. If you’d like to learn more about photobiomodulation therapy for TMJ Disorder read on!

How Does PBM Therapy Work?

To better explain the condition-specific details of photobiomodulation therapy for TMJ Disorder, let’s talk a little more about PBM itself and the process of PBM therapy in general. If you’re unfamiliar with TMJ Disorder itself and other TMJ therapies, read this blog for further reference.

Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) was first developed in the 1960s and referred to by many names (such as low-level light therapy and cool/cold laser therapy) before experts officially went with PBMT in 2015 in the National Library of Medicine MeSH database. 

PBM light therapies use a device that applies light energy to targeted tissues, which absorb it through cellular structures, particularly the mitochondria. In other words, when the specific types of light used in PBMT stimulate our body’s chromophores, it kicks off photophysical and photochemical reactions within the body that alter the structure of tissues and cells. Diseased and damaged tissues, in particular, have been found to respond successfully to the light exposure of this therapy by restoring cellular function to normal—increasing circulation, reducing inflammation and chronic and acute pain, and speeding up the healing and tissue regeneration process for wounds and injuries. 

What Kind of Devices Are Involved?

The FDA-approved devices used in PBMTs utilize LEDs, lasers, or broadband light, which are considered non-ionizing, non-thermal light sources. During the therapy process, a technician will hover or gently touch the light source over areas on the body where a patient experiences pain, stimulating photophysical and photochemical processes, which alter the physiological structures causing pain. 

Although pain might be why you are interested in this type of therapy, it will thankfully not cause pain. The frequency of treatments will vary depending on the specific machine used by the technician you’re seeing, your particular treatment needs, and more. 

Why Consider Photobiomodulation Therapy for TMJ Disorder?

If you know the pain of TMJ Disorder, then you probably see why PBMT could be an excellent option for treating TMJ Disorder. Regarding pain management methods, PBMT is worth a try for TMJ Disorder, especially if you aren’t responding well to other forms of treatment or you’re tired of taking pain medication (or, for whatever reason, you are unable to take pain meds). 

Interested in PBMT for TMJ Disorder?

No matter the reason for seeking a new treatment for TMJ Disorder, we’d love to help you find relief for your pain, and PBMT might be the right option for you. If you’re ready to be free of TMJ pain, our experts at TMJ & Sleep Solutions of Alabama can help. Call us at 205-874-9699 with questions about our practice, PBMT devices, and other treatment options for TMJ Disorder. Contact us to book an appointment today!