Clinical effectiveness of acupuncture for mandibular subluxation and dislocation

Acupunct Electrother Res. 2010;35(3-4):187-92. doi: 10.3727/036012910803860896.


Dislocation or subluxation of mandible could occur suddenly without Patient's awareness of its forthcoming. Patient may discover suddenly during yawning, laughing, or when the mouth is wide open that he or she could not close the jaw. It may cause serve anxiety and apprehension, that may put the patient in such a nervous state that may worsen the condition, and also may spastically tense the muscles associated with dislocation. We treated 37 patients in the past and found that, although five patients could be manipulated to have their dislocated jaw reduced to the normal state, we found that a majority of the cases could not be manipulated without supplementing with other adjunctive methods such as acupuncture at the pertinent acupoints, or injections of local anesthetic around the temporomandibular joint area. Twenty-seven patients were successful to have the dislocation or subluxation reduced, five patients required local anesthetic for reduction and 1 patient had to have the reduction done in the operating room under deep sedation. We found acupuncture is valuable in reducing the mandibular subluxation and dislocation. Three acupoints in calming down the patients were a valuable aid during treatment. LI 4 which is known to reduce pain in head and neck region could increase pain threshold and decrease anxiety associated with discomfort encountered during reduction treatment. Additional acupoints such as P 6 (Neikuan), Ext 1 (Yintang), and H 7 (Shenmen) are valuable for the patients who are tense and nervous. Those acupoints are also could be utilizied as additional aid to ease the spasm of the muscles associated with subluxation and dislocation. Post-operative care includes stabilization at the head and neck region.

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points
  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Dislocations / therapy*
  • Male
  • Mandibular Condyle / injuries*
  • Middle Aged
  • Temporomandibular Joint / injuries*
  • Young Adult