Treatment for jaw (TMJ) pain and stiffness
Your jaw (temporo-mandibular joint, or TMJ) isn’t usually something you spend much time thinking about until it starts to give you pain or to become stiff; after that, it’s hard NOT to think about it. You can be reminded of it every time you talk and every time you eat or drink. It is a complex little joint, with a sliding action and an ability to cope with extra movement; when it is working properly.
For less severe cases, exercises can sometimes get you out of trouble. One thing you can try is putting a pencil in your mouth, from one side to the other;
preferably the wooden kind that doesn’t have any paint on it. Slowly bite down; this can sometimes help to stretch out the tissues around the TMJ. When exercises aren’t enough, though, it is probably time to come in for a treatment. While there are “thrust” or “popping” techniques, for this joint, I avoid them, because I find that slower techniques generally work well without the need to use a lot of force. See references below.
References for seeing an osteopath for your jaw pain or stiffness
Cuccia AM, Caradonna C, Annunziata V, Caradonna D 2010 Osteopathic manual therapy versus conventional conservative therapy in the treatment of temporomandibular disorders: A randomized controlled trial Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies Vol 14 (2) pages 179-184
Tuncer AB, Ergun N, Tuncer AH, Karahan S 2013 Effectiveness of manual therapy and home physical therapy in patients with temporomandibular disorders: A randomized controlled trialJournal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies Volume 17, Issue 3, July , Pages 302–308
Monaco A, Cozzolino V, Cattaneo R, Cutilli T, Spadaro A 2008 Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) effects on mandibular kinetics: kinesiographic study. Eur J Paediatr Dent Mar;9(1):37-42