Problems with the jaw and chewing mechanics may result in a painful jaw, headaches or even tooth grinding, Bruxism. Osteopathy aims to address the underlying cause of the pain and take away the jaw problem at source.
There are two main types of jaw problem.
Traumatic damage to the temporomandibular joint and the muscles of mastication. This can cause an acute jaw problem leading to pain in the joint area. You may also find it difficult to open the mouth fully and experience discomfort on chewing. Where this is caused by over extending the jaw the problem is commonly addressed by simple massage of the affected muscles. However, some cases, where the small fibrocartilage disk becomes folded or displaced require a more sophisticated approach.This problem will often cause an obvious asymmetry in the jaw.
Bruxism (tooth grinding) is often symptomatic of a bodies inability to cope with the stress. It can be much more complex to resolve than traumatic conditions, This jaw problem often involves the complete stomatognathic system. It may well benefit from orthodontic involvement with creation of a bite guard. This limits jaw movement whilst asleep. However, addressing the upper thoracic spine and shoulder mechanics can often help relieve the jaw problem at source. Relaxation and stress management techniques can often help as an adjunct to Osteopathy.
The treatment of jaw problems is generally painless. Most treatment being performed on the relaxed jaw. In cases of bruxism the neck and upper part of the spine may also require adjustment. Work to relax the shoulder muscles may also be needed. Where key muscles of mastication are over tight intra aural work may be required. However, this is discussed with the patient and permission sort before such treatment is undertaken.