Symptoms, causes and treatment…

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the articulation between your skull (temporal bone) and jaw (mandible). Like all joints in the body, it has a certain “normal” range of movement which can become reduced or stiffened resulting in pain and dysfunction.

Why is the TMJ important? Isn’t it just something my dentist is interested in?

The TMJ is an extremely important joint that is often overlooked. Any good dentist will examine it when doing a routine check up but patients are often surprised when their osteopath is also interested in this area. Due to its proximity to the head and neck, when patients come in with neck pain and/or headaches, we always ask them about their jaw and symptoms in this region too. In South Yarra, we work with a number of local dentists to manage patients with TMJ dysfunction.

Do I have TMJ dysfunction?

There are many symptoms of TMJ dysfunction. Patients can present complaining of pain or clicking in the jaw, difficulty opening their mouth, tightness in the face, headache, ear-ache or any combination of the aforementioned symptoms – whew! As you can imagine, these symptoms can be quite debilitating and result not only in pain and discomfort but also affect basic and important functions such as eating, talking and even smiling and laughing.

So how can I manage this and how can my osteopath help?

The TMJ is a very complex structure and thus management of this area is often multi-pronged. In addition to osteopathic treatment we will discuss things such as diet, sleeping habits and stress levels and may also recommend you seek the advice of your dentist. At Yarra Osteopathy we take a holistic approach to the management of TMJ dysfunction. Your osteopathy treatment will target not only the face and jaw but also the upper back, neck and ribcage. Treatment specific to the TMJ may involve intra-oral techniques. These require us to work on muscles inside your mouth (with gloves of course). Whist painfully initially, the effects of these techniques is often a quite immediate and drastic reduction in pain and dysfunction. Do you have any symptoms of TMJ dysfunction? Make an appointment with us in South Yarra today.