Jaw pain and headaches

By Eliza Gleadell
September 2, 2019

By Dr Peter Sehic – Osteopath

Do you suffer from headaches? They could be coming from your jaw.

Headaches are a very common problem that people see osteopaths for. Irritated muscles and joints of the neck and shoulders can cause headaches, however, a commonly overlooked cause of headaches is the jaw.

Your jaw is comprised of a left and a right temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. If you place your fingers just in front of your ears and open and close your mouth, those are the joints that you can feel moving. The jaw is controlled by a group of muscles that help produce movement of the jaw. These are vital for speech, chewing, swallowing and facial expression.


When can it all go wrong?

The jaw can often become painful as a result of repeated teeth clenching or grinding during periods of stress. Other causes include trauma to the area, an uneven bite surface, arthritis of the jaw joint or following dental work.

Irritation to the jaw joints can result in facial pain as well as pain that radiates to the ear or teeth. The jaw muscles run along the length of the jaw, cheeks and the sides of the head. When these muscles tighten up they can cause pain in these areas, leading to a headache. Pain with chewing or yawning, clicking, locking or poor movement of the jaw may also cause headaches.


How can osteopathy help?

As osteopaths, we take you through a series of questions and a thorough physical assessment to determine the source of your headache. Once the problematic muscles/joints have been identified, we can use a range of manual therapy techniques to help decrease pain, improvement joint movement and reduce muscle tightness.

As well as the hands-on treatment, appropriate aftercare is essential in achieving a long-term result. We will provide you with exercises and advice on things to do or avoid, in order to aid recovery. For example, eating hard or chewy foods can aggravate an injured jaw and should be avoided in the short term. In some cases, referral for an orthodontic or dental assessment may be required.

Do you have jaw pain or a headache? See us today to help determine the source and solution to your pain.

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