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Understanding your TMJ | Osteopathy Health Care

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

In this blog, you’ll learn everything you need to know about disorders related to your TMJ joint. Not sure what or where the TMJ joint is? Read on to find out.

The temporomandibular joint or TMJ for short, is a joint located above the jaw bone. This joint acts like a sliding hinge, connecting the jaw to the skull. Sometimes, we might feel discomfort above the jaw joint but not know what’s causing it or how we can prevent it.

Signs and symptoms:

  1. pain from clicking /grinding, locking of the jaw, chewing.

  2. headaches/ ear aches/ neck pain/ toothaches.

In some cases, this discomfort or pain may be due to a prior jaw injury. But in most cases, the root cause for the TMJ/ TMD are as follows:

Stress : When we are stressed, we tend to overuse the masticatory muscles. This leads to clenching or grinding of our teeth leading to pain overtime.

Frequent yawning : Yawning causes a lateral pterygoid muscle spasm leading to subluxation or dislocation of the jaw.

Sometimes, in young adults the intra-articular cartilage slips forward because of the laxity of the ligaments.

Neck posture : A forward neck position can overtime lead to pain in your joints. Most of the time, this pain is temporary and can be relieved with home remedies and exercises.

Let’s look at some health tips.

  1. Monitor your FOOD

    1. Avoid eating crunchy (e.g. chips) or gummy foods (e.g. candy) which involves prolonged chewing. The more the movement of the jaw, the longer your pain will last.

  2. Be more aware of your POSTURE

    1. Maintain an upright posture while sitting, standing and especially while using your phones. Do not rest your hand under the jaw and avoid yawning frequently.

  3. Sleeping posture matters too

    1. Lie on your back while sleeping (never on your tummy). If you choose to sleep on your sides, do not put your hand underneath.

  4. Reduce your STRESS

    1. Take measures to reduce your stress. As mentioned earlier, stress is the main cause for the teeth grinding motion when we sleep at night. Practise yoga and meditation.

  5. Apply a HEAT PACK for 15 mins at the site of pain or swelling

Simultaneously, do 5 minute home exercises too. To know more about the TMJ self exercises check out our Youtube page.


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