The letters TMJ stand for temporo-mandibular joint, the joint attaching your jaw to your head. You can feel it moving in front of your ears when you open and close your mouth.
Your jaw region contains muscles, bones, joints, ligaments and membranes which all play an important role in jaw function. Dysfunction or irritation to these structures can cause pain. Pain in the jaw can also be from distant structures, for example upper neck pain can refer to the face or even pain originating from the heart can be experienced as facial pain.
Problems with your TMJ can present as:
– Clicking or popping with jaw movement
– Locking with opening or closing of your mouth
– Pain with chewing, talking or yawning
– Tender points on muscles around the jaw
– Clenching of teeth throughout day or night
Treatment for TMJ dysfunction depends on the cause. If it is due to postural or muscular problems, osteopathic treatment can help to reduce your symptoms and relax any jaw muscle spasms you may be experiencing. Your osteopath may teach you some exercises or stretches to do after treatment, which will aim to help further reduce your discomfort. Jaw pain can be complex and may require a multi faceted approach. If symptoms persist you may require a referral to an orthodontist, or if problems are related to stress, implementation of stress management techniques may be required.
If you feel like any of the above symptoms are describing what you may be feeling, give us a call and we will do all we can to help!