The jaw, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) does far more than just chew! It consists of an articulation(relationship) between the temporal bone, an intra-articular disc and the mandibular bone. It may come as a surprise that this joint also has a direct influence on balance due to its relationship with the hyoid bone. There is also suggestion that TMJ dysfunction may have some connection with Tourette’s syndrome. Patients with TMJ dysfunction may experience headaches, neck pain and jaw locking or cracking. Causes of TMJ dysfunction include secondary problems due to muscular imbalance, bruxism (grinding teeth), malocclusion (bad bite) or genetic abnormalities causing an abnormal jaw shape, which can in turn affect the soft palette.
Osteopathic techniques working mainly inside the jaw on the internal muscles have a positive effect on the intra-articular disc and alignment of the jaw and in many cases work well to relieve symptoms.