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Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) Dysfunction

The TMJ (or jaw) is the most frequently used joint in the body, opening and closing 2000 times per day. The joint moves by a combination of hinging open and sliding forward. Inside the joint is a disc, similar to the meniscus in the knee, and if the joint is dysfunctional the muscles opening the TMJ can pull the disc forward causing the mandible to ride over the joint, creating a click. Typically the jaw will not open in a straight line, but will follow a C or S shaped path to the dysfunctional side

TMJ dysfunction can be caused by:

  • Stress and teeth-grinding
  • Chewing gum
  • Trauma to the jaw
  • Loss of teeth, causing an uneven bite

Symptoms of TMJ dysfunction:

  • Clicking or popping when opening the mouth
  • Jaw pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches

Osteopathic treatment involves soft tissue manipulation, stretching and articulation of the jaw to help balance the muscles of mastication and improve function of the jaw. Advice and home exercises can also be prescribed to help restore and maintain proper function.

Hitchin Osteopathic Clinic, Old Park Dental Surgery, 72 Old Park Road, Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 2JT 01462 432609