TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) and Face Pain
Pain in the jaw and face can be very distressing and may be accompanied by other strange symptoms. Many patients with problems in this area don’t know who to go to and choices usually involve either a bite guard from the dentist, or a visit to the Maxillo Facial or Ear, Nose and Throat surgeons.
Susannah has an interest in this area and in particular the muscles and other soft tissues around the jaw and face, including inside the mouth, which can develop sore tight areas (or trigger points) which can give all sorts of strange symptoms. These may include headaches, tinnitus and feeling of fullness in the ear, mimic sinus and eye symptoms, tooth pain, pain in the face, throat and tongue, feeling of tightness in the throat and sensation of the tongue feeling “too big” for the mouth, and many more. The neck is usually also involved, but this is often less apparent.
These sorts of symptoms tend to cause high levels of distress to the patient but on medical investigations such as scans do not reveal anything, leaving few medical treatment options. Often though, these are exactly the types of symptoms that respond well to gentle, hands on techniques. Many patients with pain arising from the muscles around the jaw tend to hold tension or stress in them, and they often need to look into what factors are causing their stress and how they can manage it in order to maintain the improvement.
Sometimes problems arise with the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) itself, with clicking, locking and pain. Treatment to the muscles which control the joint and mobilisations of the TMJ may be helpful, usually with a home exercise programme to reinforce the correct pattern of movement.