TMJ Disorders & Manual Osteopathy

Osteopathy offers a drug- free option for pain management and addresses the root cause of TMJ disorders.

TMJ stands for the temporo-mandibular joint, the joint which attaches the jaw (mandible) to the skull. The TMJ is essential for the movement of the jaw. It could be argued that this is one of the most frequently used joints in our body, facilitating our ability to speak, sing, talk, chew food and swallow.

jaw pain and osteopathy

Do you have TMJ Dysfunction?

Common Signs & Symptoms ~

  • Clicking and popping of the jaw when you open or close your mouth
    Pain in the jaw area (directly in front of the ears) with difficulty opening and closing the mouth
    Pain when yawning, chewing or biting
    Misalignment of how teeth fit together on the upper and lower jaw
    Bruxism: teeth grinding or clenching when asleep or awake
    Headaches
    Earaches or a sensation of fullness in ear
    Tinnitus
    Jaw pain or tenderness
    A jaw that gets stuck or locked (notably, in cold weather, when at the dentist or talking for extended periods)
    Neck pain and stiffness
    Shoulder pain

What Factors may contribute to TMJ Dysfunction?

  • Clenching or grinding teeth while sleeping or tense
  • A blow to the jaw from sports injury or other accidents and trauma
  • Previous jaw surgery
  • Extended stress and anxiety can tense and shorten muscles
  • Motor vehicle accident injuries (like whiplash)
  • Poor posture and body mechanics impacting the position of the lower jaw
  • Structural damage to teeth leading to tooth loss
  • Misalignment of the bite where teeth do not meet when the mouth is closed (malocclusion syndrome)
  • Overuse such as with daily gum chewing, biting nails, hard chewing
  • Thrusting the jaw forward during talking, exercising or during computer use
  • People who are constantly speaking or using their voice as part of their occupation (singers)

What happens when I visit a Manual Osteopathic Practitioner for TMJ disorders?

The osteopathic approach to TMJD includes an assessment and observation of the head, neck and spinal relationships, taking into consideration the position of the TMJ in relation to the skull, cervical tissues and shoulder girdles. Specific treatment to the neck, jaw and cranio-facial bones involves treatment for soft tissues including the muscles, ligaments and fascia.

Techniques may be used to release tension at the articulations of the neck, cranial and facial bones, as well as the temporo-mandibular joints and can potentially involve treatment of the whole body, as imbalances elsewhere (spine or pelvis) may contribute to pain and imbalance at the temporo-mandibular joint. Gentle stretches and techniques inside of the mouth can access the small muscles that directly attach to the TMJ. Of course, this type of intra-oral work is done with disposable gloves and in careful communication with the client to ensure consent and optimal comfort.

Clinical trials support the use of Manual osteopathy techniques and rehabilitation for individuals suffering from TMJD. The Manual Osteopathic Practitioner will address restrictions of the jaw while relaxing the surrounding muscles.

There are limited medical options available to treat temporomandibular disorders. A symptomatic approach may be using NSAIDS (which come with side effects long term) or there is the option of jaw reconstruction, disc surgery, orthodontics, or wearing a mouth guard. Obviously many of these options are highly invasive; jaw reconstruction surgery can use synthetic or plastic material or involve harvesting tissue, muscle or ribs for rebuilding the joint. Surgery offers no guarantee and may complicate the jaw disorder leading to further alignment issues. So why not consider a less invasive treatment?

Osteopathy offers a drug free approach to jaw pain, teeth grinding and TMJ disorders by providing a gentle, surgery free, safe approach to this painful jaw disorder.

Click here to learn about how manual osteopathy can help address other health issues.

If you want to know if Osteopathy is the right treatment for you, email us today and ask about Manual Osteopathy Therapy at Alinear Osteopathy.