Do you suffer from pain in your jaw? Clicking, popping, difficulty chewing and jaw + facial pain can mean you have TMJ dysfunction. TMJ stands for temper-mandibular joint, which located between your jaw and your ear. This joint functions to open and close your mouth during eating, talking, brushing teeth and drinking. It is made up of bones, joint capsule, muscles, tendons and a disc to cushion the joint.
There are many causes for TMJ pain:
Malocclusion of your teeth- meaning your teeth do not allow your jaw to close properly
Bruxism- Excessive teeth grinding and jaw clinching
Symptoms related to TMJ dysfunction:
Tenderness in the jaw & face
Tinnitus- Ringing in your ears
Pain chewing, brushing teeth, drinking
Neck & shoulder pain
Dizziness & lightheadedness
Ways to self manage your pain:
- Chewing on the opposite side of your
This allows the joint to rest & not be irritated. It is important you rest the painful side as continuing to use the joint will create further irritation of your pain. This also includes not chewing gum.
- Non steroidal anti-inflammatories
Speak to your local pharmacist about what pain medication might be suitable for you. These must be taken as per their prescription dosage.
Ice works by cooling the joint and the local inflammation.
Stress can be a main culprit in pain. A simple relaxation technique, that can be done by ANYONE is diaphragmatic breathing. This can be done lying down or sitting. Start by placing one hand on your chest and the other hand on your stomach. As you take a breath in (inhale) you should feel your chest rise and your stomach expand (get bigger). As you breathe out (exhale) your stomach should flatten (tighten) and your chest relax back down to its resting position.
How Osteopathy can help you
Osteopaths commonly treat TMJ dysfunction and the associated symptoms that may occur with it. Diagnosis is aimed at looking to identify the cause of your pain. This may be referred from your neck, shoulders or back, stress, Bruxism (see above), posture or structures with in the TMJ. Treatment addresses any tight muscles affecting the joint, reducing tension on the joint, addressing other body areas of pain or importance. Tailored advice is given to clients, which may include reducing stress, eating only soft foods, not chewing gum, relaxation techniques and so on. Each treatment is tailored to the patients individual needs.
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