Mechanical Pain

Despite its fairly complex structure, the jaw is actually quite a simple mechanical unit. Any form of impact to it can result in various types of damage. The jaw joint allows a large number of possible movements but it prefers just simple up and down. If someone gets punched or falls onto their chin it can lead to compressive force which can damage the cartilage in the joint as well as strain the joint capsule. Biting down awkwardly on something hard can also lead to a similar, but not as severe damage. Depending on how long the issues have been present and how serious they are, some can be completely corrected with osteopathic treatment, others can only be eased. Other still need attention to a dentist or specialist.

The most common issues we see are muscle problems which can easily be addressed, followed by issues with the disc which stabilizes the jaw joint. These problems can cause clicking in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth, or chewing. The clicking can come from either just simple crepitis in the jaw joint or from an actual 'slipping' of the joint. If the capsule is still reasonably healthy and the disc is in reasonably 'good shape' we can have a significant impact on this condition. Where the damage is quite extensive, there is little than can be done osteopathically. In such cases we can suggest the next best step for you.

The positioning and health of your neck is actually quite important to your jaw mechanics too. If your upper neck if tight, restricted or sitting incorrectly then it will put pressure on your TMJ and it will sit incorrectly. Over time the muscles will begin to tighten into these positions and lead to considerable (but reversible) dysfunction.

Other systemic conditions can also affect the jaw joint. Diabetes, inflammatory arthritis or stress can all affect the jaw joint in a variety of manners from changing the internal joint chemistry or mechanical changes which can cause the TMJ to become problematic. In these cases aside from osteopathic care, other forms of treatment may be necessary to give as much resolution of symptoms as possible. We would discuss these with you and help you find the next step.

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