You don’t have to have dental problems to suffer from TMJ pain. It can be caused by many different factors, but most commonly it’s the temporomandibular joint. Osteopathy for TMJ is natural form of treatment that aims to treat the root cause of TMJ and can help relieve jaw pain and discomfort.
What are the causes of TMJ?
Did you know that the temporomandibular joint works like a sliding hinge connecting your jawbone joint on either side of the mouth just below the ear to the skull? Disorders associated with the temporomandibular joint include a condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). The disorder occurs when the muscles and ligaments around the jaw joints become irritated or inflamed resulting in pain ranging from mild to acute.
TMJ can be related to an injury to the jaw or its surrounding tissue, while teeth grinding arthritis and an improper bite are also possible causes.
What are the symptoms of TMJ?
TMJ disorder is common in people aged between 20 and 40 and is most likely to happen to women rather than men. Some of the most common signs that you may be suffering from TMJ include the following symptoms:
- Pain in or around the jaw bone
- Neck or shoulder pain
- A difficulty opening your mouth wide
- Jaws that lock in an open or closed position
- Clicking, popping or grinding noises made when opening or closing the mouth
- Difficulty chewing
- A ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
- Changed in how your teeth fit
- Swelling on the side of your face
- Tooth pain
How to find out if you have TMJ
A simple visit to the dentist for a check-up is sufficient in most cases. Just tell the dentist that you have jaw discomfort, and they will observe what happens when you open and close your mouth. They will also press on your face and jaw to determine any areas that might be causing you pain.
In addition to this, they may want to do a panoramic x-ray and a cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan for a detailed 3-D image of your teeth, jaws, facial bones, and sinuses.
In some cases, they may recommend you go for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to view the soft tissue around the jaw joints. Depending on the results of the scans, you may be referred to a specialist or surgeon who specialises in treating skeletal conditions such as TMJ dysfunction.
Surgery, however, should always be a last resort, with plenty of other options left to consider first, such as osteopathy.
Osteopathy for TMJ pain
An osteopath aims to restore the body’s normal function by helping the body heal itself. Using their hands, they exert pressure on the muscles connecting to the jaw, which may cause tension and pain. Osteopathy treatment for TMJ can help relieve the pain and discomfort by realigning the spine, neck, and nerves to correct misalignments that may be causing or contributing to your symptoms.
To help relieve TMJ, an osteopath will:
- Use soft-tissue techniques to loosen and release muscles that connect the jaw to the skull
- Treat any movement restrictions of the jaw so that it functions normally
- Correct poor neck and upper back posture that may be leading to jaw discomfort
- Recommend exercises and things you can do at home to help relieve TMJ discomfort
Our trained and experienced osteopaths at the Backcare & Acupuncture Clinic will be able to identify any TMJ misalignments and prescribe a treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms.