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  • Anne-Marie Mougeot

How Can Osteopathy Help with TMJ Pain and Dysfunction?

Osteopathy offers the perspective that there are various interconnections within the body, including physiological, anatomical, and among the various systems (circulatory, lymphatic, nervous system, endocrine, etc.). Even mental and emotional factors can lead to physical effects, which can be related to jaw clenching and impacting the way we breathe. ⁣

 Addressing TMJ pain and dysfunction often requires looking at other areas in addition to the jaw itself. ⁣

tmj jaw pain

If you see an osteopathic practitioner for jaw pain/dysfunction, they will likely go through a thorough health history intake to learn about any traumas to your face, surgeries, dental and orthodontic work, and other relevant medical history or current concerns. ⁣

We will assess your neck range of motion and tissue tension, the base of your skull, the muscles on the outside of your jaw by touching your cheeks as well as the muscles inside your mouth. ⁣

When assessing, we will probably look at the alignment of your teeth, your bite (overbite/underbite) having your practitioner wear a glove and feeling how your jaw moves and what the muscles feel like. ⁣

We also look at the muscles under your chin (submandibular area), and the front of your neck and possibly your upper shoulders, collar bones and sternum. ⁣

As for the treatment, depending on what we find in our assessment, we will likely perform gentle techniques to relax the muscles and help the jaw open and close more smoothly. ⁣

Though it can take a few treatments, many people report feeling that their jaw is looser and more relaxed and are able to open and close their mouth with more ease and less pain. ⁣

Sometimes it is important to also consult with dentists or other healthcare providers. ⁣

 Osteopathy can be helpful for people undergoing orthodontic work, who struggle to keep their mouth open during dental procedures, or who notice painful clicking, popping, or limited range of motion with their opening or closing their jaw. ⁣

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