Our jaws (Temporomandibular joints or TMJ) are designed to take massive forces of up to 4000 psi. That is equivalent to two tonnes of pressure on every square inch of your TMJ… HUGE FORCE!
The good news is that our jaws are designed to handle these extreme forces. However, things can and often do go wrong. That is when TMJ syndrome begins.
The symptoms of TMJ syndrome include:
- Pain or tenderness of your jaw
- Aching pain in and around your ear
- Difficulty chewing or discomfort while chewing
- Aching facial pain
- Tension headaches at the front, back or sides of the head
- Locking and clicking of the jaw joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
- Pain behind the eyes
- Dark bags under the eyes
- Waking unrefreshed from sleep
In most cases TMJ syndrome can be treated with good quality manual therapy, and a little self-help. In some severe cases, medication or even surgery may be needed.
Most therapists simply don’t know how to treat the jaw, so they ignore it. Even many “specialist-therapists” and dentists do not deal with all the root causes of TMJ syndrome. To get lasting results a therapist must be confident to work inside your mouth.
Using advanced osteopathic techniques, the osteopaths at ReachHealth will treat more than just the TMJ. It is vitally important to assess and treat the tongue muscle and the muscles under the chin. Of course we will assess and treat your TMJ, and the powerful chewing muscles as well.
Self Help Exercises and Devices
1. Strengthening your throat muscles
This balances the muscles that open your jaw and stabilise your neck. You will feel the difference within 3 days. Follow this video to see how it’s done.
2. Decompress your jaw and the powerful chewing muscles
This is a great way to relieve those tension headaches that are really coming from your TMJ. It feels wonderful, just try it. Follow this video to see how it’s done.
3. Use the right mouth-guard at night
The biggest cause of TMJ Syndrome and Tension Headaches is due to jaw clenching and grinding. It is known as bruxism and happens mostly at night. That is the reason that you might wake un-refreshed, have dark circles under your eyes, or have headaches that seem to be behind your eyes.
Mouth-guards worn at night can sometimes be the most effective treatment for TMJ syndrome and headaches.
I am now going to make a controversial statement that may upset some dentists. $20 mouth-guards from the pharmacy are much better than $400 ones from the dentist! That is because most dentists prescribe hard mouth-guards. These protect teeth very well, but do almost nothing to protect your TMJ.
However, soft mouth-guards absorb the impact of the bottom jaw smashing into the upper jaw all night long. They are very easy to fit to your own mouth at home. I have seen these get rid of people’s TMJ syndrome and headaches once and for all.
I do not endorse any particular brand, but the mouth-guard must be thin enough to be comfortable to wear while sleeping.
What to do next
To have your TMJ syndrome and headaches thoroughly assessed and treated, call us at 1300 696 783 and ask for Dr. Boaz Gilboa, Dr. Melanie Brown, or Dr. Catriona Bauld. Or you can book an appointment online.