Temporomandibular Joint Disfunction(TMJD)

Temporomandibular Joint Disfunction(TMJD)

Understanding how the temporomandibular joint works is crucial to healing temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

TMJ Dysfunction is extremely common because this is the only joint that hangs from the head and is influenced by all tensions/dysfunctions in the body. 

What is a temporomandibular joint?

The temporomandibular joint is an articulation of the temporal bones and the mandible. Imagine a helmet chin strap: there are two temporal bones (one on either side of the cranium) and only one mandible connecting to either side. The natural movements of the joint are hinge open, hinge close, protrusion, retraction, and lateral deviation. TMJ pain is eliminated when these movements are achieved without restrictions. 

What causes temporomandibular dysfunction?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the exact cause of a person’s TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Your pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis or jaw injury. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth (bruxism), although many people habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders.

Some surprising causes for TMJD includes:

  • Stress: physical, emotional, chemical, environmental 

  • Sleep disturbances 

  • Core instability 

  • Cranium/teeth asymmetry

  • Scoliosis (functional or structural) 

  • Gut microbiome health  

How does treatment work?

The most important muscular network to address is pterygoid muscles since they act as the myofascial bridge between the center and peripheral structure of the TMJ. Normalizing tensions of these muscles restores the position and mobility of the joint. Secondly, the masseter muscles play a vital role in the function of consuming and breaking down food. Relieving tightness in the masseter improves chewing and releasing digestive enzymes in the mouth – ultimately optimizing digestion. Lastly, the occipital bone is the mechanical driver of the temporal bones and mandible. Therefore, myofascial treatment of the cranial base makes all the difference in creating an adaptable and stable platform for the TMJ. 

Global manual therapy takes away restrictions from other structures that may be pulling on the TMJ. Circulation and nutrients are free flowing once these barriers are removed. Increase in adequate global blood and lymphatic flow can reverse inflammatory processes and detoxify from damaged cells. 

Your deep frontal line of fascia is a myofascial network that connects the entire length of your body from the jaw muscles, to the soles of the feet via neck, check, abdomen and pelvis. Strengthening your deep core muscles creates a biotensegrity, allowing the body to adapt to various forces in a general network. Without biotensegrity, the body continuously compensates by dumping unresolved tension into the structures that hang off the axial skeleton; such as the shoulders and jaw. Overall, the goal of a therapeutic approach to TMJ is reposition, restore mobility, increase circulation, and strengthen the foundation using myofunctional and deep core exercises. 

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Allowing the body to self-heal without medicine


The aim of a Osteopathic Manual Practitioner is to optimize the self-healing mechanisms of the body.

The frequency of treatments is based on the initial assessment and treatment. The decision on how often you will need treatment is based on allowing enough time between visits to allow your body to integrate the changes that occur from one treatment to the next.

While very often being used to treat back pain, osteopathic treatment is effective in a wide variety of health complaints. Osteopathy has been successful in treating the following:

  • Acute or Chronic Pain
  • Digestive Problems
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Respiratory Difficulties
  • Postural Problems

It can also successfully treat migraines, dysmenorrheal, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, tinnitus, vertigo, pain and diseases.

Osteopathy is an established recognized system of healthcare which relies on manual contact for assessment and treatment. It integrates the whole body, including the mind with emphasis on allowing the body’s intrinsic tendency for self-healing without pharmacological use.

Osteopathy views a person as a single unit comprised of body, mind, and spirit. In the osteopathic perspective, one needs to treat the whole person. Instead of viewing the body as a machine, osteopathy looks at pain as the result of complex interactions between physical factors as well as psychological and social factors, also referred to as the “biopsychosocial” approach. The perception of pain is not merely a response to physical injury, but is also related to the patient’s own emotional framework as well as their physical and social environments.

An Osteopathic Manual Practitioner works to build a trusting relationship with their patient to help understand if there are other non-physical factors that could be contributing to their chronic pain condition. This allows the practitioner to develop a more comprehensive pain management and reduction plan to help their patient find relief.