The Temporomandibular joint or jaw is formed between the temporal and mandible bones. There are many muscles and ligaments attached to the joint which facilitate opening and closing the mouth, moving the jaw from side to side and the actions of mastication or chewing.
Chronic TMD is very common and only second to chronic low back pain. There are 3 main types of TMD. The first is where there is a problem coming from the disc, inside the joint itself. The disc can get displaced and can affect the opening of the mouth. It often leads to clicking but may not be associated with pain. It can be linked to hypermobility in other joints of the body, as it causes laxity of the ligaments. There may be difficulty opening or closing the jaw.
The second cause is pain related and mainly muscular. There may be pain in the jaw, face, head and neck. from eating, and opening the mouth. There may also be neck pain and headaches. It is often related to a history of dental treatment, stress, posture and oral habits such as chewing gum and grinding teeth.
The third cause is degenerative and maybe associated with osteoarthritis in other joints. There may be a history of local trauma which has led to a change in habits and a weakening of the muscles connected to the jaw.
An Osteopath can help you get to the root of the problem in establishing where and why the complaint has occured. They can give treatment, exercises and other advice to reduce the symptoms and prevent them returning.