Let’s talk TMJ dysfunction

Do you get jaw pain or clicking? 

Do you also suffer from headaches or neck pain? 

This month we’re focusing on the jaw and what we can do to help…

A bit of anatomy….

The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is your best friend when it comes to talking, eating & drinking and with the Silly Season fast approaching- you will be relying on it even more so! It allows the mouth to open, close, move side to side and forwards and backwards. Now, put your fingers just in front of your ears, in line with your ear holes, then open and close your mouth – Wallah! You are on your TMJ.



Problems with the TMJ

A common jaw condition our Osteopaths treat is TMJ dysfunction, which affects women twice as much as men. Problems can arise from many structures in and around the joint, including the muscles, joint surfaces and a small disc which sits inside. Muscle imbalances are common and can lead to stiffness and/or pain when opening and closing our mouth. Tightness in the surrounding muscles could be a result of trauma to the jaw, clenching when sleeping, a neck dysfunction/restriction, or from dental problems such as having an uneven bite. People who are highly stressed will often clench their jaw in their sleep, which may lead to waking up with a sore jaw or headaches.


Clicks or cracks when opening the mouth can be the result of the small disc inside the joint becoming ‘displaced’, affecting the jaw’s smooth movement.  For the most part, the click is painless, however some people may experience pain alongside a click. In some severe cases the jaw may temporarily lock, which as you can imagine would be quite distressing to experience. Pain from the jaw joints can sometimes also present as ear pain.



Osteopathic Treatment for TMJ dysfunction

Treatment for TMJ dysfunction will greatly depend on the cause. More often than not, a TMJ dysfunction will come hand in hand with a problem in the neck and shoulders, be it restriction of movement or poor stability in the region.  Due to the proximity of the jaw and neck, you rarely get dysfunction in one without the other. Your Osteo will question you about your occupation, sleeping habits, hobbies, and current stress levels – all of which may be playing a part in your condition.


If you think you might have a jaw problem, then don’t keep it tight-lipped. Open up that mouth and reach out to us (by talking we mean!). You can book your appointment online today, by clicking here or call 08 9485 2800 to speak with someone today.