What is TMJ?

What is TMJ?

The TMJ is the Temporomandibular Joint and it connects the scull and the jaw. It is common to experience disorders of the TMJ. These disorders include conditions affecting the jaw joints and surrounding muscles and ligaments. Problems with the TMJ have a wide range of causal factors including bruxism, trauma, problems with the bite, arthritis and wear and tear.

Symptoms of TMJ include:

  • A locked jaw.
  • Pain when eating or yawning.
  • Headaches.
  • Toothaches.
  • Earaches.
  • Blurred vision or pressure behind the eyes.
  • Dizziness.
  • Shoulder pain and tight neck muscles.
  • Vertigo.


Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) pain can be caused by:

  • Poor posture: Spending extended periods sitting with poor back support can strain the neck, shoulders and head muscles. The lower jaw may move forward and strain the mastication muscles, which impacts biting and chewing and, eventually, the TMJ.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): RA often affects the wrists, hands, feet and the TMJ, and is a long-term autoimmune condition. The immune system attacks healthy tissues and joints, causing pain, swelling and stiffness.
  • Bruxism: The grinding of teeth, whether awake or asleep. It can be caused by anxiety, stress or anger. Lifestyle habits, such as drinking an excessive amount caffeine or alcohol or smoking, can also trigger it. Bruxism can eventually cause TMJ pain and degeneration, tooth pain and subsequent dental problems.
  • Trauma to the TMJ from injury.


At-home treatments

While seeking treatment from a medical professional for jaw and TMJ pain is still highly recommended, the following steps can help alleviate pain at home.

  • Self-massaging of the jaw: Use your index and middle finger to press the tender and sore area on your jaw. Rub in a circular motion until you feel the pain subsiding. Open your mouth and repeat the exercise. Additionally, massage the muscles on the side of your neck to help relieve tension.
  • Heat or ice treatment: Applying heat or ice packs can help reduce the swelling and pain around the TMJ. Apply for 10 minutes, and then wait before reapplying until you feel the discomfort ease.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can also help reduce discomfort. Consult your medical practitioner before taking any medication.


How we can help:

If you find yourself suffering from excessive pain and discomfort from jaw pain, osteopathic treatment can be highly effective in relieving and treating TMJ pain. Here at OsteoVision, our team of highly trained osteopaths will assess you by taking an intensive case history and choosing the best course of treatment for you. Each patient’s treatment plan is unique and specific, depending on your diagnosis, age, and fitness level. Our osteopaths will embark on osteopathic therapy and exercises to help reduce pain and improve movement. Techniques we use include:

  • soft tissue work to help loosen and release tight muscles connected to or surrounding the jaw,
  • treating movement restrictions of the jaw to help restore and correct movement and biomechanics to the TMJ,
  • helping correct the posture of your back and neck that causes stiffness and soreness around the jaw, and
  • providing advice on which stretches and exercises will help alleviate pain or symptoms.


Contact us to discuss your symptoms, and a member of our team will be there to assist you.

Call:     03303  904 300
Email:  info@osteovision.life
You can also book an appointment online at www.osteovision.life


My Doctor Online, My doctor online, (no date). Available at: https://mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org/ncal/article/self-massage-for-tmj-disorders-704362

Jaw pain: Symptoms, causes, and treatments, Healthline. Nall, R., (2019) Healthline Media.
Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/jaw-pain#causes

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders: Symptoms, treatment & prevention – Cleveland Clinic, (no date). Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15066-temporomandibular-disorders-tmd-overview

TMD (temporomandibular disorders)National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, (no date). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Available at: https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/tmd

TMJ disorders, Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, (2018)
Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tmj/symptoms-causes/syc-20350941#:~:text=Temporomandibular%20joint,-TMJ%20disorders%20affect&text=A%20soft%20cartilage%20disk%20acts,your%20jawbone%20to%20your%20skull