Temporomandibular joint disorder is a cluster of conditions that affect the bones, joints, and muscles responsible for jaw movement. These conditions can cause pain and discomfort.
It is a common complaint and usually goes away without medical treatment, though some types may need treatment.
The symptoms tend to vary, but they may include:
- pain in the face and jaw
- jaw locking
- clicking, popping, or grinding sounds
- tooth grinding or clenching
- difficulty chewing or opening the mouth
- a burning sensation in the mouth
- sensitive teeth
There is a wide range of possible causes of jaw pain such as grinding your teeth, arthritis in the TMJ, dental conditions, neuropathic conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia, viral infection herpes zoster, cardiovascular conditions such as temporal arteritis or angina referring pain to the jaw, tension headache, sinus problems or ear infections.
Treatment options vary depending on the cause of the pain ranging from medications such as antibiotics, muscle relaxants, steroid injections or antiviral therapy.
Dental treatment can alleviate tooth problems and mouthguards may work for bruxism.
Physical therapies they include stretching, massage, postural assessment and treatment, and acupuncture (please look at our social media feed for more details of ways we use acupuncture).
Our osteopaths are well placed to triage the cause of TMJ pain and refer you as needed or treat you if the cause is musculoskeletal.