Understanding Jaw Pain
The TMJ or temporo-mandibular joint as it is known, is the joint which attaches your head and jaw together. The movement of this joint can be felt by placing your fingers in your ears or at the front of your ear whilst opening and closing your mouth. Problems with this joint can affect eating, drinking and talking and many other associated symptoms too, like headaches. The issue may be caused by postural issues, which affect the positioning of the jaw, clenching and grinding of the teeth and malocclusion, whereby the teeth do not meet properly as you close your mouth.
In TMJ issues, there is likely to be an imbalance of the muscles which operate the joint, which when untreated, can lead to the joint wearing out or becoming arthritic.
Common associated symptoms of jaw pain
Some of the common issues patients with TMJ problems complain of are; headaches, earache, neck and shoulder pain, jaw pain, tinnitus, sinus pain, eye pain, dizziness and light- headedness. These can all be a result of the imbalance around the jaw. Patients may also have issues chewing, swallowing, drinking and eating.
Treatment of jaw pain
Treatment will really depend on the cause of the issue. If the issue is postural, manual treatment like osteopathy and massage may well help. Exercises may also aid relaxation of the jaw and relieve symptoms further. If malocclusion is the main issue, referral to an orthodontist for help with bite or dental work, may be needed. If stress is leading to teeth grinding, then addressing this may hold the key to resolution. Often we see a combined approach working best.
Some self-help may also lessen pain. You could try ice around the joint if it is swollen and then heat to relax the muscles. Avoid or lessen stress, avoid chewing gum and eating toffees and work on exercises to relax the shoulders, neck and jaw.
Osteopathy for jaw pain in Worthing
At Broadwater Osteopaths in Worthing, osteopaths Betts and Grant use a combination of approaches to help with jaw pain. This may include massage, osteopathy, cranial osteopathy, dry needling and applied kinesiology. Find out more at worthingosteopathy.com