TMJ – Jaw and Face Pain

Jaw pain is a painful symptom of what is commonly known as TMJ syndrome.

Jaw, face and head pains often stem from restrictions in the bones that form your skull. Cranio-sacral therapy is one of the tool your therapist may use.



TMJ syndrome is currently theorized to be a syndrome as the direct cause is still not fully understood. There are three theorized causes :

  • muscle spasm (as a result of night time jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and psychological stress, sleeping disorders..)
  • degenerative joint disease (arthritis within the joint)
  • changes in the jaw joint : there is a small disc within the join that can change position (from trauma)


  • increasing pain over the course of the day
  • pain may also felt in the rest of the head, ears, neck and shoulders
  • jaw locking or clicking
  • reduced ability to open, close mouth, or eat
  • ringing in ears (tinnitus)
  • neck pain and shoulders tension
  • migraines/headaches

How is it diagnosed

Your osteopathic practitioner will be able to diagnose TMJ syndrome by taking a full past medical history and physical examination. You may need to be referred for an x-ray, other imaging or blood testing if further investigation into the cause is required.

Osteopathic treatment

An osteopath will aim to provide symptomatic relief of pain in the related structures of the jaw, head, neck and back. this may allow for reflex relaxation of the jaw to settle symptoms and may also assist with a better nights sleep.


The posture and mobility of your body, influence the position of the jaw and its physiology. By improving the flexibility and mobility of your muscles, fasciae, and through osteo articular corrections, you will be more balanced and less likely to experience these discomfort.