Glucosamine May Not Help Temporomandibular Joint Disorder Symptoms After All

Patients with osteoarthritis who use a glucosamine supplement to treat their temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder naturally may be in for a disappointment. In a new study in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, patients who used glucosamine supplements as an all-natural way to treat TMJ pain experienced no greater pain relief than those who took ibuprofen to treat the same symptoms.

The study could come as a blow to anyone who is trying to treat their TMJ symptoms naturally, but at least one expert says using a supplement like glucosamine is already bound to fail.

“Using a supplement to treat TMJ disorder is not going to address the root of the problem,” says Dr. Alexandra George, a dentist in Wexford, Pennsylvania. “With TMJ disorder, the temporomandibular joint is out of alignment, so any real relief needs to come from treating the condition itself.”

George says that can be done with something called neuromuscular orthodontics (NMO), which is orthodontics done specifically to correct the positioning of the teeth to allow the jaw joints to stay in their correct place to eliminate TMJ disorder pain.

“Anything else is really just masking the symptoms,” says George.

And that includes the other treatment mentioned in the study: ibuprofen.

“It’s great that ibuprofen works so well for pain, but I think most people would rather correct the problem than just keep taking pills for it,” George says. “Neuromuscular orthodontics takes a little more time to work than an ibuprofen, but when your treatment is over, you won’t need ibuprofen.”

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on October 10th, 2018