Jaw pain is one of the most common conditions alongside neck, low back and shoulder pain we see in the clinic.
It is often associated with chronic conditions such as non-specific neck pain and headaches.
The jaw is made up of the mandible (lower section of the jaw bone) contacting the lateral edge of the skull at the temporal bone. It is cushioned internally by a disc which acts to assist clean gliding movement of the jaw in opening, closing and chewing.
There are 2 main types of jaw pain that can occur.
1. Myalgia – muscle based pain
2. Joint issue – disc, arthritis or hypermobility
Typical symptoms with jaw pain are:
– One sided jaw pain
– Clicking/grinding on opening or closing
– Restriction in opening or closing
– Ringing in ear
– Neck pain and restriction on movement
– Headaches – tension style headaches wrapping around the ears towards front of head
Myalgia is typically brought on through stress and anxiety, and characterised by one sided muscle pain usually tender to the touch. It is often worse in the morning after a night of grinding or clenching. This can also be diagnosed through your dentist by examining wear patterns on your molars.
Joint issues: (Disc displacement)
The disc acts as a cushion between the jaw bone and the skull can occasionally become displaced leading to pain. This is often characterised by:
– Clicking with opening or closing
– Mandible deviates to one side and returns to midline post click
– Can result to locking down the track if not managed appropriately
– Disc translates forward and the joint travels over it like a speed-bump thus creating a click. When it returns to closed the disc returns to its forward position.
This condition can be both painful and non painful.
If left untreated the disc can remain in a forwards position leading to a locking of the jaw or also a limit the ability to open the mouth beyond 40mm.
At Trident Movement we can help with simple massage techniques to relax tight muscles or gentle mobilisations to the joint to help manage stiffness. There are also a series of home exercises which may allow you to take control of your jaw pain. We can refer you to a dentist if needed to investigate whether getting a splint would be helpful.
Give us a call today or book online.