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Osteopathic approach to dysfunction of the Jaw (Temporomandibular joint or TMJ)
13 June 2018
It's not always easy to discover the cause (or the factors that may be stopping resolution) of the TMJ problem, due to the inevitable complexity of the area. It's important to rule out other possible causes such as sinus problems, dental conditions, and systemic problems such as fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus etc. Osteopaths do attempt to identify all the factors in the patient's life that may be contributing to the problem, as well as any event that set the problem off in the first place. These may include:
- Dental problems (malocclusion ie. poor bite, non-replacement of missing teeth, past dental surgery, any opening of the jaw for a prolonged period (a big yawn), poorly fitting or worn out dentures)
- Injuries (whiplash, a blow to the head, face or jaw)
- Habits (bad posture, oral habits ie. chewing pencil end or grinding teeth under stress, thumb sucking as a child, poor diet or eating habits, heavy lifting which may strain neck or back)
- Stress (may be due to home life, recent stressful event(s), financial worries, work difficulties, litigation, divorce, death of a loved one etc.)
- Emotional issues (depression, anger, anxiety, frustration, fear, unrelieved stress)
As patients are often anxious about pain and its cause, open communication can serve to soothe anxiety. Psychosocial factors, particularly coping strategies, cannot be ignored in the management of jaw dysfunction. If we feel that a differently qualified practitioner could help the patient more, referral is deemed necessary. For example, Osteopathic treatments and Psychotherapy sessions may complement each other and ensure that the patient recovers more effectively and quickly.
If you feel that you could benefit from Osteopathic intervention for this or any other musculoskeletal problem, please call Laura or Philip at Backinhealth on 02082038977.