- Pre and Post Natal
Mother and Infant Care
- Adult and Pediatric Osteopathy
-Visceral & Structural Osteopathy
Osteopathy for Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJD)
TMD refers to problems that stem from issues with either the jaw, the muscles in the face surrounding the jaw or the jaw joint known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
This joint operates like a hinge and connects the jaw to the skull. The TMJ is flexible enough to allow smooth movement for yawning, chewing, talking and moving the jaw from side to side. The joint is controlled by muscles in the area. Often, problems of the temporomandibular joint will be referred to incorrectly as TMJ instead of TMJD.
Unfortunately, the cause of TMJD is not black and white and symptoms could arise from problems with the TMJ and/or the muscles responsible for jaw movement. Whiplash, blunt force and any other trauma involving the neck or head can cause TMJD. Also, bruxism (teeth grinding/clenching of jaw) habits can put unusual pressure on the TMJ resulting in TMJD.
Physical abnormalities can include jaw disc dislocation,
osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis affecting the temporomandibular joint.
Problems with any part of normal jaw function can quickly become annoying, painful and in severe cases, even prevent a person from being able to eat. TMJD can occur on either one side or on both sides of the jaw. The symptoms associated with TMJD can either be temporary or chronic. The following is a list of common symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders:
Audible pops or clicks with jaw movements such as speaking or chewing
Unable to open mouth as wide as it should be able to
Jaw gets locked/stuck in place
Chewing is not a fluid movement, i.e. feeling of jaw catching or bumping
Face feels weak or tired, especially after eating a meal or having prolonged conversation
Pain in the face, jaw joint, teeth, ears, neck or shoulders
Swelling on one or both sides of the face
Osteopathic medicine is a great choice to treat temporomandibular joint disorders because a skilled osteopath can examine a patient with TMJ complaints and likely find and fix the root of the problem. Sometimes, osteopathy will be sought along with massage therapy, chiropractic and physical therapy. At the Ottawa Holistic Health Centre, Elissa Gustafson, DOMP and Carolyn Smith, DOMP are both practising osteopaths who have helped many people resolve their TMJD.