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Tmj –Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

Are you having pain in your jaw, headaches,oraches in and around yourears? Do you have problems with swallowing, biting, or opening and closing your mouth? Have you tried various treatments and not had any relief? Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT), the all-natural alternative to pain relief, may be the answer for you.

Studies have shown:

  • OMT can induce changes in jaw function for TMJ.
  • OMT on TMJ requires significantly less medication (non-steroidal medication and muscle relaxants).

The Temporo-mandibular joint commonly referred to as TMJ. There are two joints, one on either side of the head, located in front of your ears where your lower jaw meets the skull. You will be able to feel the joint when you place your fingers in front of your ears on either side of your head and open and close your mouth.The TMJ enables movement of your jaw when you eat your food, talk and sing. It is one of the most commonly used joints in the body.

TMJ disorder is a general term that refers to pain or discomfort in the temporo-mandibular joint areawhich involves the jaw joint and the muscles surrounding it.


Common causes of TMJ disorders include:

  • Stress: This is the main cause of TMJ pain. Stress leads to habits like clenching and grinding your teeth which can cause muscle spasm and jaw pain. You may not even be aware you are doing this.
  • Diseases: Certain diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can cause pain in the joint. In both these conditions, the cartilage is lost and the bone surface erodes away.
  • Injury to the jaw: Injury can lead to fracture of the condyle and disc displacement.
  • Oral habits: Oral habits such as Bruxism (night grinding of teeth) or clenching leads to muscle spasms.
  • Bad bite or Malocclusion: Misalignment of the teeth and jaws can cause problems in the way your teeth fit with each other and place the masticatory (chewing) muscles under stress.


You may come across the following symptoms:

  • Dull, aching type of pain in the jaw
  • Difficulty in swallowing, biting, opening and closing the mouth
  • Headache and dizziness
  • Clicking and popping sound on opening and closing the mouth
  • Pain in the ears
  • Stiffness in the jaw muscles


TMJ is diagnosed by asking questions about your symptoms, reviewing your medical history and performing a physical examination. Imaging may be ordered in certain situations.


Most patients with TMJ dysfunction are effectively treated with the following measures:

  • Osteopathic manipulative treatment
  • Mouth guards are suggested for eliminating the effects of clenching or grinding the teeth
  • Medications: Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants
  • Physical therapy
  • Orthodontic corrections
  • In rare cases surgery may be recommended when all nonsurgical measures have failed

For a list of articles supporting OMT, please click here.

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