What exactly is the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)?
The TMJ allows for opening and closing movements of our mouth as well as deviation.
What Causes Jaw pain?
Causes of jaw pain can be divided into two main causes, traumatic and non-traumatic.
Traumatic causes include a specific trauma to the jaw, such as falling and landing on your jaw or face or sustaining a knock to the jaw during sports. Even holding your mouth open for a prolonged period of time at the dentist during a procedure can lead to jaw pain or TMJ disorders
Non-traumatic causes of jaw pain are probably more common. These include anything which causes increased contraction and overwork of the jaw muscles. This can very often occur in relation to stress, such as clenching the jaw during the day or night (nocturnal bruxism). In some cases it can also be related to specific diets or medication side effects.
Common Symptoms of Jaw and TMJ Pain
- Pain around the jaw joint or temple
- Neck pain
- Vertigo, tinnitus or dizziness
- Sensation of fullness in the ear or blocked ear
- Clicking in and around the jaw – often worse with eating or yawning
Jaw Pain Assessment & Diagnosis
Before treating any jaw or TMJ issues, it is very important that your chiropractor has a good understanding of your symptoms.
We will ask questions about what symptoms you are experiencing and for how long as well as what treatment you may have tried in the past. Lifestyle factors are also important to our assessment, such as stress levels, occupation, sleep, diet, alcohol & caffeine intake.
Your chiropractor will then assess the movement of your jaw in different directions, we will feel the jaw to assess for a click as well as examining the jaw muscles. Jaw problems can be affected by posture and neck function so we need to assess holistically to determine what else could be involved in causing your jaw pain.
Jaw Pain treatment Perth – Our Approach
As chiropractors we treat jaw pain using a combination of manual therapies, exercise and advice specific to your condition. We will use a variety or soft tissue therapies and dry needling to treat the jaw muscles locally as well is mobilizations and adjustments of the TMJ joint.
Exercise therapy is an important component and we will typically prescribe exercises addressing jaw posture & relaxation, range of motion and muscle activation and stability.
Looking at the bigger picture and your lifestyle and what other factors could be affecting your jaw pain is also important. In some cases we will recommend consulting with your dentist for an assessment of your bite or to discuss a splint.
jaw pain? we are here to help!
Chiropractor and Clinic Co-Owner Dr Jed has a special interest in jaw pain and associated issues.
He has completed further courses on assessment of management of jaw issues with Dr Russell Mottram (Chiropractor) one of Australia’s leading authorities on conservative treatment of jaw conditions.