Jaw Pain (aka TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint Pain)
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is an intricate system made of up 3 parts: the temporal bone (which houses the ear), the mandible (jaw) and the articular disc (disc) between the two. There are also numerous muscles that assist in proper function of the TMJ.
Quite simply, the disc is sandwiched between the temporal bone and mandible and acts as a cushion between the two to prevent friction. Asymmetric tension of various muscles or misalignment of the temporal bone with the mandible can cause dysfunction in this joint causing symptoms such as pain, clicking in opening or closing of the mouth, jaw locking, difficulty chewing, ear aches and headaches.
Osteopathic Treatment of TMJ Dysfunction
Some of the common causes of TMJ dysfunction are bruxism (grinding of teeth), dental extractions or other dental work, arthritis, and external trauma or injury. The aim of osteopathic treatment in TMJ dysfunction is to allow each portion of this intricate system to function optimally and in syncronicity with each other. This is done using gentle techniques aimed at releasing the musculoskeletal areas that are restrictive or under tension.