Jaw pain, or temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) affects up to 40% of the Australian population during their lives.
It may take the form of:
1. Pain or restriction with opening or closing of the mouth
2. Clicking of the jaw with opening or closing of the mouth
3. Pain and/or tightness in the temporal region, especially in the morning.
TMD may be due to one or more of the following:
1. Bruxism or grinding of one’s teeth. This may be exacerbated during stressful times
2. Post dental work, especially on the molars
3. Secondary to previous whiplash injuries
4. Secondary to malformed bones that comprise the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
5. As the result of forward head carriage and the resultant loss of normal cervical (neck) curve. This results in excess forces through the TMJ.
Often patients presenting with headache, dizziness and neck pain have underlying TMD. As a chiropractor I treat many such patients.
Treatment is always personalised and may involve mobilization, soft tissue and trigger point therapy and spinal rehabilitation.
By Dr Ashley Browne