3 April 2020
Jaw pain and Osteopathy.
Can Osteopathy help with pain in the jaw?
For me, the jaw is a very interesting area of the body. For such a small joint, it is one of our most used. It is busy throughout the day whilst talking and eating. And if you grind your teeth at night, there is no rest for it then either.
The Tempero-mandibular joint, to give it its correct name, can be found if you feel just in front of your ear. If you open and close your mouth you can feel it moving. The joint is classified as a condyloid joint. It’s movement is interesting and unique to this joint. The TMJ begins opening the mouth by first rotating. As it continues to open the joint begins to slide forward slightly.
Within the joint, there is a disc which aids this sliding movement. It is called a meniscus.
As you would expect, there are muscles around the TMJ. The most powerful muscle in the body is located in the jaw. Its name is Masseter. You can feel it by putting your fingers on the angle of your jaw and then clenching your teeth. The muscle can produce 400 Newtons of power. Masseter used to be even stronger, but as humans discovered fire and the ability to cook and soften food, the muscle naturally became weaker.
Jaw pain can be felt in a number of different areas. Some people often feel like they are getting pain in the ear, or may feel a headache on the side of the head. People often mention about ‘clicking’ in the jaw when eating.
Some of the reasons for this could be:
Incorrectly fitted dentures
Trauma to the jaw
Fillings in the teeth affecting the bite surface.
Restrictions in your upper neck
‘Folding up’ of the meniscus in the joint causing the mouth to lock open.
Yes!! Osteopathy can help with a lot of cases of jaw pain. During a session, we will initially talk to you about your symptoms. Where it hurts?, how long you have had pain for? etc.
After that we would examine you and look to see how your jaw, neck and upper back are moving. If we confirm and diagnose that the pain is coming from the jaw we will treat accordingly. This can include helping the upper neck to move better, muscle stretching techniques to improve the movement of the TMJ and articulations to the joint.
To summarise, if you have been suffering with jaw pain or clicking, grinding your teeth or arthritis, there is a chance that we could help you with these issues.