Osteopathy For Jaw & TMJ Pain

Jaw alignment is an important part of our overall health. When we have a TMJ or jaw problem, it can affect our quality of life and even impact the way we feel about ourselves.

The truth is that many people suffer from jaw pain and don’t know what to do about it. They’re often frustrated by traditional methods that aren’t working or helping them find lasting relief from their symptoms.

This blog post will discuss how osteopathy can treat TMJ disorders and why many people benefit from this treatment. We will also address common myths surrounding TMJ pain so you can feel confident in your future decisions. Let’s get started!

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Osteopaths are trained to assess the alignment of the jaw.

Osteopaths understand in depth the alignment of bones and joints. They use their hands to feel for areas of tension and stress in your body, but they can also determine if issues with your jaw, neck, or spine that may be causing pain. If an osteopath finds a jaw misalignment, they will use massage techniques to relax muscle tension and help realign the joint so that it functions properly again.

Once an osteopath has treated you for TMJ pain, they might recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to keep your jaw from becoming excessively tense. A custom-made dental appliance (which resembles a retainer) may also be recommended if grinding is occurring because this helps prevent wear on teeth enamel due to clenching during sleep.

What Is Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the connection between the lower jaw and the skull. The TMJ enables jaw movement, speech, chewing, and swallowing. It also allows you to open or close your mouth and make facial expressions.

For someone with a misaligned or damaged TMJ, these functions can become painful or difficult to perform – leading to headaches, earaches, neck pain and other problems, and jaw pain (also known as temporomandibular disorder).

Jmarchn, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Osteopathy for Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders.

TMJ disorders are common and can cause pain. As you might have guessed, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders involve the joints connecting the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull. These joints help you open your mouth wide, chew food, and close it again when you’re finished eating. They also allow you to talk, yawn and even smile — an important step in creating a positive image for yourself!

For many people who suffer from TMJ disorders (or TMD), their symptoms start with chronic pain in their jaws or face that worsens over time. This can lead to headaches or jaw locking due to muscle tension around the joint compartment muscles of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

Causes of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders

There are many causes of TMJ disorders. Some of these are:

  • Improper alignment of the teeth and jaw
  • Poorly fitting dental appliances
  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Trauma (such as an injury) to the jaw or face
  • Habits such as chewing gum too vigorously, clenching your teeth together or grinding them at night while sleeping

Common symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders

If you suffer from TMJ, you might experience any of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Pain and tenderness in the jaw joint
  • Pain and tenderness in the ear
  • Pain and tenderness in the neck
  • Headaches (especially headaches that occur when moving your head)
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Difficulty swallowing or opening your mouth
  • Reduced flexibility and stiffness in the jaw joint
  • Jaw clicking or popping when you open and close your mouth

Risk Factors

  • Stress can be a factor in the development of TMJ disorder, as it can cause the muscles around your jaw to tighten.
  • Jaw injury. Damaging the bones in your jaw can cause pain and inflammation that may lead to TMJ symptoms. For example, this can happen if you fall on your face or have a car accident.
  • Posture and sleeping habits. These factors can contribute to muscle strain and pain in the jaw area caused by clenching teeth at night or during stressful situations throughout the day.
  • Excessive gum chewing or smoking cigarettes can also lead to TMJ disorder symptoms. It’s because they cause gum recession over time, which puts pressure on bone structures in your mouth that may eventually become painful when exposed too frequently without proper dental care.
  • Health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and fibromyalgia can also contribute to TMJ disorder symptoms.

Osteopathic Treatment for Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders

For those with TMJ disorders, osteopathic treatment can help. Osteopathy for jaw alignment to reduce TMJ pain focuses on realigning the jaw and treating pain through a variety of methods, including:

  • Muscle relaxation and gentle stretching exercises prevent muscle spasms or tension from clenching your teeth.
  • A pain management plan includes medication and counselling or behavioural therapy if appropriate.
  • Using splints during sleep keeps the jaw in the proper position, which can help reduce stiffness once you wake up.

When to see an osteopath

If you experience jaw pain that disrupts your life, it’s time to make an appointment with an osteopath. TMJ problems can signify other health issues, especially if they are accompanied by headaches or neck pain. Osteopaths are well-trained to assess the health of your jaw and neck, and they can identify any underlying conditions that may be contributing to your pain.

If you live in or around North Shore, Sydney, call (02) 8054 7166 today to make an appointment with our osteopaths who are experienced in jaw problems.

How do osteopaths assess temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders?

Osteopaths use a variety of methods to assess TMJ disorders, including:

  • Palpation – This is the most common method. Your osteopath will use their hands to feel for tender areas and restrictions in the muscles around your jaw.
  • Passive and active movements – Your osteopath will ask you to move your jaw, open your mouth, and gently guide your head into different positions. As part of this assessment, they will also have you clench your jaw or grind your teeth.
  • Tender point testing – This method involves applying pressure to specific points on either side of your jaw until you feel pain when the pressure is released.

How can osteopathy help with TMJ disorder?

Osteopathy is a holistic treatment using hands-on techniques to help your body heal. It can help with TMJ disorder by assisting in the alignment of the jaw bones and reducing pain. Osteopaths also use soft tissue massage, gentle stretching, postural advice, and exercises to promote joint mobility.

Contact us right away to schedule an appointment if you are experiencing TMJ pain and are interested in learning more about osteopathy in Sydney. Our team of highly qualified practitioners gladly answer any questions you may have about how we can help reduce your symptoms or manage them completely if necessary.

Jaw exercises to help relieve the pain of TMJ

Neck Stretches

Maintaining the flexibility of your muscles and joints is crucial to treating TMJ disorder. This will help you to reduce pain and prevent further injury. One way of doing this is doing neck stretches every day, preferably before you start work or when you get home.

Muscle Massage

Another important way of treating TMJ disorder is to massage the muscles around your jaw. This will help you to reduce pain and also prevent further injury. It’s especially important to wear a mouth guard as this can cause muscle stiffness and soreness.

TMJ Exercises

TMJ exercises are another important way of treating TMJ disorder. These exercises will help you strengthen the muscles around your jaw, reducing pain and preventing further injury. Most patients with TMJ disorder find that regularly doing these exercises makes a big difference in how they feel.

For a complete guide to the exercises above, here is a video that shows you the best way to do each of them:


Osteopathy is a safe and effective treatment for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. It helps reduce pain, improve muscle strength and flexibility, and promote the body’s overall health.

If you are suffering from TMJ pain, you must see a health professional who can diagnose and treat your condition. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about osteopathy or would like to set up a consultation with a qualified osteopath.