Jaw pain / temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction

Pain and locking in the mandibular joint

The temporomandibular joint is a complex joint that is located just in front of the ear.  It has a sliding action to permit a large range of motion, and has a moving cartilage structure within it, which is what catches  when clicking or locking occurs.  Assessment of this type of face pain looks at the symmetrical motion of jaw opening and gliding, and if muscular restrictions are found, soft tissue massage techniques may help restore normal motion and reduce pain.

The main confounding factor is the health and mechanics of the teeth.  If there is any doubt about dental issues, referral to a dentist or orthodontist is prudent.  Occasionally, these professionals will prescribe a night splint that can help restore normal mechanics and this, in conjunction with manual therapy from the osteopath can reduce the severity of the problem.