Jaw pain and Osteopathy


How can Osteopathy help with my Jaw pain? The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) works like a sliding hinge that connects the skull to the jawbone. The TMJ is basically the jaw bone joint. These disorders can cause a great deal of pain in the muscles
controlling joint movement and the jaw joint itself. The reasoning why someone gets jaw pain is often hard to
determine. The pain might be a combination of different problems, such as a jaw injury or arthritis. Some
of those who have jaw pain also tend to grind their teeth or clench down when sleeping. However, there
are many people who habitually clench their teeth and never go on to develop this disorder.

In the majority of cases, the discomfort and pain associated with the disorder can easily be alleviated with
nonsurgical treatments and self-care. Severe disorders might have to be surgically repaired.

What Causes TMJ Pain?
 Repetitive stress on the jaw, such as repeated heavy biting
 Osteoarthritis of the TMJ. Yes, the TMJ can suffer with osteoarthritis like many other joints
 Grinding your teeth at night
 Dental problems with the teeth
 Stress (causing repeated jaw clenching)
 Trauma, such as a broken jaw or a punch to the jaw bone

What are the Symptoms of TMJ Pain?
 Jaw pain
 Pain on eating or chewing
 Pain yawning or opening your mouth widely
 Pain radiating to the neck
 Headaches or migraines
 Painful click of the jaw

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) Anatomy
The TMJ is the jaw bone joint, and you can feel it by placing your fingers just below your ear and opening
and shutting your mouth. The temporomandibular joint is one that allows a series of complex movements
that are required for eating, yawning, talking and swallowing.
There is a disc between the joint, and this acts similar to a disc in your spine – to provide cushioning and
protection to the joint, and allow movement.
When the joint becomes dysfunctional, it can cause limitations in your lifestyle and severe pain. Disorders
are quite common and those who suffer with the condition will end up seeking treatment and advice.
Understanding what you are dealing with can help you receive the appropriate treatment to overcome
your condition.

I Get a Click in My Jaw – is This Normal?
It is not particularly common, but it’s not abnormal either. The jaw is a mobile joint so will click and crack
a little. It is just that most people do not notice it until they get pain. If your click or crack is repeatable,
and without pain, the best thing you can do is to try not to deliberately click your jaw and forget about it.
If the click is painful, you need to seek medical attention as this is a sign of TMJ dysfunction. The problem is that if you have pain, you then become “aware” of the click which may have been present all along, but
the patient just never noticed it.

I Saw My Dentist, but They cannot Help, What Should I do?
Dentists are teeth experts, but many do not specialize in jaw problems. You should seek a dentist with
specialist expertise in jaw related pain, or TMJ dysfunction. An alternative would be to seek an osteopath
many of whom have experience in the treatment of jaw pain. They may use alignment
techniques, massage, traction or mobilization to improve the function of the joint.

How to Treat Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction:
1. Medication
Medication can help to relieve the pain commonly associated with this disorder. Some of the
common medications include:
 Pain relievers can help to relieve pain.
 Sedatives can help when nighttime teeth clenching seems to be aggravating your pain

2. Therapies
Common non-pharmaceutical treatments for the disorder are:
 Bite guards allow those who are suffering with pain in the jaw to benefit from this device. It is
inserted over the teeth while the individual sleeps.
 Osteopathy, ice, heat, ultrasound, and exercises for strengthening and
stretching the jaw muscles has proven beneficial.
 Counseling can help you to understand what behaviors and factors are aggravating your pain,
so that way you can work to avoid them. Common examples include biting your fingernails,
leaning on your chin and clenching or grinding your teeth.

3. Injections
In certain people, corticosteroid injections have proven helpful. On rare occasions, Botox
injections into the muscles that are used for chewing has helped to relieve pain commonly
associated with this disorder.

 Eat soft foods. Cut your food into smaller pieces. Avoid sticky and chewy foods. Don’t chew gum.
 You might be provided with a series of exercises to help strengthen and stretch the muscles in
the jaw, as well as massage them.
 Apply an ice pack to the affected area for 5-10 minutes at a time three to five times per day to
help relieve pain and inflammation.
 Some people have found relief from acupuncture.
 Slow your breathing, take deep breaths and relax to help relax tense muscles in the jaw and
reduce pain

Useful Links:


Feel free to call us at:

Hazel Grove Osteopathic Surgery on 0161 483 6986 for appointments on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. 302 London road, Hazel Grove, SK7 4RF.

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Email info@alanjohnsonosteopathy.co.uk.


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