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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is best way to manage the pain from temporomandibular joint disorder?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2


    Dr Paul Coceancig

    Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

    I am a specialist oral & maxillofacial surgeon based in Sydney and Newcastle, Australia. I graduated in medicine from the University of Otago, and in … View Profile

    For a sprained ankle, you apply ice, elevate the foot, and apply a compression bandage.

    But you cannot do any of these simple measures for a simple jaw joint sprain.

    The best advice I have, is don't attempt to open your mouth beyond a small-finger width (don't stretch the joint).

    Maintain a puree diet, do not chew, and do not yawn (with a wide mouth).

    Take piroxicam 20mg once a day for 10 days (if your GP says it is okay).

    And get a referral to see an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon.

  • 2




    Nonsurgical treatments include:Stabilization or bite splint: This main treatment for jaw muscle pain and tightness involves using a plastic guard that fits over the upper or lower teeth. “It allows the teeth to slide smoothly against each other, which lets the jaw muscles relax,” Messina says. Splinting helps to prevent clenching and grinding of the teeth. Most people wear the splint only at night, but in severe cases, Messina says, “the patient may be wearing the splint 24 hours a day, except when they’re eating.”Physical therapy: “Physical therapy involves muscle relaxation and increasing the range of motion in the joint,” Messina says. These methods may include biofeedback, stretching exercises, or ultrasound treatments. Applying warm compresses to the side of the face during exercises may be useful, too .Yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and stress management can also help ease symptoms, I say “Stress doesn’t cause , but it certainly makes it worse,” he says. Among  treatments for TMD,  we teach patients relaxation skills to help them cope with pain. “Patients just benefit from learning how to really relax their bodies,”Drug therapy: These treatments include anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain and prescription muscle relaxants. “If there are some severely inflamed muscles that have restricted motion because they’re in spasm – the muscles are excessively contracted or hyperactive – we can use some muscle relaxants,” …………………………………………………………………………..   Use physiotherapy principles as you would for other joints . This joint is near the centre of your ear . Eat soft foods . Try not to yawn excessively . Support and massage the area  around your ear lobe (press firmly on you ear lobe  with the palm of your hand and rotate in small circles . Heat packs in the area help . These treatments will slowly correct the problem . If not,we may need to consult an oral surgeon . Give the treatment one month . Be creative with physiotherapy principles . Ask yourself what you would do if it was another joint in your limbs hurting . Resting the joints would be on top of your list ….etc . The problem will in most cases go away . (and can recurr from time to time ) .

  • 2




    Dr Ryan Hislop


    Ryan Hislop is the Clinical Director at the Mudgee Chiropractic Health and Wellness Centre. As an experienced and evidence-based diagnostician, Ryan works largely by medical … View Profile

    In practice we commonly co-manage clients with our team of dentists. 

    Below is a clip from a recent reserach seminar on the conservative management of TMJD with chiropractic and dentistry.

  • 3




    Kerry Read


    Headline Physiotherapy for the Head Neck and Jaw deals specifically with TMJ Facial Pain Headache Migraine and other musculoskeletal issues involving the cranial area. All … View Profile

    To answer this question it is important to establish the source of the pain. TMJ disorder covers a wide variety of conditions and they all respond to different treatments. The most severe pain from TMD can come from advanced disc displacement where the tissue behind the disc is pinched, giving sharp, stabs of pain. It is really important that you do not try to ‘push through’ this pain, and that you take the advice to rest, given by Dr Coceancig. The more inflamed the tissue, the worse the pain becomes. Once it settles it's good to learn how to manage your jaw to stop it happening again.
    Of course, that may not be your particular jaw problem.Pains from the muscles, bone and joints of the jaw all have their particular characteristics, and their treatment will vary. If you do have access to a physio who specializes in this area they should be able to determine the source of your pain and provide you with effective strategies to help manage it.

  • 2


    Dr Kal Ientile


    Kal Ientile is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a Registered Acupuncturist. His key focus is in pain management and musculoskeletal disorders. Kal received … View Profile

    As has been discussed in the previous answers, there are many different causes and differing treatments.

    In some cases the pain is caused by trigger points in the muscles of the jaw, scalp and neck. When the muscles are the primary issue it can often be resolved with acupuncture.

    In the other cases acupuncture can assist by reducing inflammation and providing pain relief.

  • 3


    Susan Martinez

    Kinesiologist, Western Herbal Medicine Practitioner

    I'm a holistic counsellor who supports people as they work through their emotional issues. View Profile

    I agree with all the suggestions above as possible methods for managing the pain.  The only point I wish to add is that from a Kinesiologists perspective we view the TMJ as the master joint when it comes to holding emotions in the body.  Without realising it we store a lot of emotions in our body (think clenched jaw when angry).  In PKP kinesiology there's a technique for balancing the muscles which move the jaw, and releasing the emotions.  This in turn reduces the pain and helps address some of the causes (if they have an emotional base).

    I'm curious, Did anything significant or particularly stressful occur before just before the pain commenced?

    i hope you find relief.  All the best

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