The TMJ is the jaw bone joint, and you can feel it by placing your fingers below your ear while opening/closing your mouth.
The TMJ is a very important joint that gives us the ability to eat, yawn, talk and swallow.
There is a disc between the joint similar to the intervertebral discs we have in our spine and it provides cuschioning and protection to the joint, and allow movement. It is a mobile joint, so it is normal to hear it clicking and cracking every now and then. Most people do not notice it until they get the pain. If the click and crack is repeatable and without pain, the best thing you can do is avoid clicking the jaw deliberately. If pain is present it is advised to seek medical attention as this is a sign of TMJ dysfunction.
The main causes of TMJ dysfunction are:
- Repetitive stress on the jaw, like heavy biting
- Clenching teeth at night
- Trauma ( for example broken jaw, punch to the jaw bone)
- Dental problems
The main symptoms of jaw pain are:
- Jaw pain
- Neck pain
- Headaches or migraines
- Pain yawning or opening your mouth
- Pain when eating or chewing
- Painful click of the jaw
How to treat TMJ dysfunction?
Osteopathy can be very effective in the treatment of TMJ dysfunction. Through the use of different techniques like soft tissue massage, mobilisation and articulation, Osteopathy can improve the function of the joint. The osteopath can then recommend the use of ice or heat, and exercises to stretch and strength the jaw muscles.
Bite guards to be used at night can be beneficial too, as well as pain medication.
- Relax the jaw by taking deep breaths and slowing your breathing. This will relax tense muscles in the jaw.
- Eat soft food. Cut food in small pieces to reduce the work of jaw muscles.
- Do not chew gum
- Massage your jaw muscles
- Apply an ice pack in the affected area 10mins 3 times a day to relieve pain.
If you have pain in your jaw give us a call at 02071004598 or book online.