The two common but very different causes of Jaw pain and what you can do to stop it.

The Temporomandibular joint, commonly known as the TMJ, is a hinge connected to your jaw and skull that allows you to chew, talk and yawn. Located in front of your ear, the TMJ also allows your jaw to move up and down, and side to side.

We will be exploring the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ), particularly in regards to headache pain.

A lot of people don’t know or are confused whether the pain they are experiencing in jaw area is caused by their actual jaw pain or whether it’s referred pain from a headache.

When it comes for actual jaw pain associated with the TMJ, what are the signs and symptoms that you need to know?

The first sign is having pain around the jaw area, which may be already present, or arise with common jaw activities such as biting and chewing. You may also hear an audible click in the jaw with these movements. Another indication you might find is some restricting in typical motions such as opening your mouth.

A lot of people get really confused with these pains, so they’re coming in for a consultation.

You may also suffer from toothaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

This is the difference with a true headache cause of pain because they don’t actually get any of those signs or symptoms. Instead, there is only the presence of vague pain in the jaw area and don’t have any trouble with biting and chewing, swallowing.

A lot of people don’t know that some osteopaths and physiotherapists have additional training in treating jaw pain.  

How to treat it? And how do Osteopaths treat TMJ Headache?

It depends on what’s causing it.

There are a few different structures through the area that could actually cause the pain, so if you experience more of a muscular-type cause of pain, your practitioner might use techniques such as dry needling to release the muscles. Massage work may also be used to increase the range of motion through the joint and stretch out some of the ligaments.

Treatment of a headache will involve looking at those top three joints in the neck, which are the joints responsible for producing headache and migraines.

Often people have a mix of both actual jaw problems headache, and neck problems, so we would treat all of these to get the best results.

Self-tests to help you work it out:

Test 1. Feel your own TMJ moving to see if it moves equally both sides

Pop your fingers just in front of your ear

Slowly open your jaw and feel the bone forward and down

It should move equally on the left and right

Test 2. Protrude your jaw forward

Is there any pain or stiffness on one side more than the other

Or clicks and clunks

Test 3. Move your bottom jaw side to side

Is there any pain or stiffness on one side more than the other

Or clicks and clunks.

If you have any found any pain, tenderness or noises from these tests, then you are likely to have a TMJ problem that often can be easily resolved once it is accurately diagnosed and treated.  

Call Dr. Brendan at Melbourne TMJ Solutions on 9486 7543 to start getting jaw pain relief today.