Cranial Osteopathy for TMJ?   

We have written the below article to give you further information about TMJ and jaw pain. It can be debilitating and not only affect your jaw but refer to other areas. Identifying the cause of your issue is paramount for a successful treatment plan. We believe jaw pains could be managed more effectively    

What is the TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) are the joints inside your mouth that connect your jawbone to your skull. You have two joints located on either side of your head. Both joints work together, along with ligaments, muscles, nerves, discs and bones which allow you to speak and chew food. It is a hinge joint which allows for the opening and closing action of the mouth. Between this hinge joint is a shock-absorbing disc which allows for a smooth jaw movement. 

What is TMD? 

Is a collective term that includes disorders of the TMJ, of the masticatory muscles and their associated structures in absence of a visceral pathology (for example ear disorder, pharyngeal tumour or dental abscess). It is characterised by pain, joint sounds and restricted mandibular movements. Moreover, pains can refer to your mouth, face, head or neck. This is known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD).  

What are the symptoms of TMD?

The most common TMD symptoms are jaw pain, clicking and popping sound when moving your jaw. Locking out of your jaw, pain or difficulty chewing and yawning. You can also experience headaches, migraines, inability to open your mouth fully, difficulties swallowing and ear pain. Furthermore referred pain to your face, neck and shoulder/s pain.     

What causes TMD? 

There are multiple possible causes for your TMD so it is really important to diagnose correctly to give you the best chance of a long-term relief of your symptoms. We have divided our causes into three categories.  

Osteopathy for TMJ

1 – Derangement of the condyle-disc complex 

Derangement of the condyle disc complex can occur due to the breakdown of the rotational function of the disc resulting in the lengthening of the ligaments following trauma. Disc displacements can occur due to the change of function of the lateral pterygoid muscle. This can lead to clicking when opening or closing your mouth. Disc displacements can also lead to disc dislocations.       

2 – Structural incompatibility with articular surfaces  

Changes in the smooth sliding surfaces can cause alterations resulting in friction and affecting joint function. Structural incompatibility classifies as a deviation in form, adhesions, subluxation, and spontaneous dislocation (Mani & Dua 2021). History of dental work or orthodontics. Nutrition deficiencies such as vitamin D or magnesium deficiency or low consumption of calcium. Past history of head trauma like suffering from a broken nose as a child could be a contributing factors.

3 – Inflammatory disorders of the TMJ

Inflammatory conditions within the joint after often caused by direct trauma such as jaw or head injuries whether it is a fall or sports injury or road traffic accident with whiplash. 

Excessive psychological stress or anxiety has been linked with teeth grinding (bruxism) or clenching. 

Synovitis – Inflammation of the synovium or the joint capsule. 

Retrodiscitis – InSwelling of retro discal tissues, and acute malocclusion are associated with the disease. 

Osteoarthritis – inflammation due to increased overload of the joint. Over time the forces will soften the articular surfaces, loss of subchondral largest thanks yer and bone erosion.

Systemic arthritis – traumatic arthritis, infectious arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can have an affect.

Can an Osteopath Help With TMJ?

Yes, our Cranial Osteopath London is trained in diagnosing and treating your TMD to help reduce your symptoms. Osteopathy for TMJ pain treatment aims to restore function. Osteopaths are well known to treat the whole person and posture. In our experience treating not only your jaw but also your neck, head, shoulders and overall posture will achieve the best results. 

TMJ Osteopathic Treatment  

TMJ Osteopathy will involve muscular stretching, joint articulations, and joint manipulations (if appropriate). You will also be advised on stretching and strengthening rehab exercises. Maybe nutrition and/ or lifestyle top-tips to help optimise your recovery.  

How does TMD Affect The Entire Body?

As mentioned previously TMD can refer to your mouth, face, neck, shoulders and upper back. This will have a dramatic effect on the rest of your posture and fascial planes. See the postural diagram below which shows a forward head posture which puts increased strain on your neck muscles which will cause increased mechanical loading through your jaw. This is why treating your whole posture and encouraging Pilates rehab exercises achieve great results. 

How does TMD Affect The Entire Body?

Can Cranial Osteopathy help TMJ? 

As a condition with many contributing factors, we find the best results are achieved from an integrative approach. We combine hands-on OsteopathyCranial Osteopathy, Nutrition and Pilates. We would have a course of treatment and then revaluate. If symptoms are still being experienced (albeit reduced) it might be worth considering speaking to a talking therapist or seeing a dentist as well (if you haven’t tried already). Having a well-rounded approach provides you with the best management plan.

Can an Osteopath help with Jaw Pain?

Yes but, it depends on the cause of your bruxism. If stress and anxiety are the contributing factors then cranial osteopathy in our experience can help reduce your symptoms. Cranial Osteopathy for TMJ pain can be deeply relaxing which is a great circuit breaker to turn down your fight or flight response to help reduce tensions. If there are joint or postural restrictions which are contributing to your TMD then hands-on treatment can be of great use. In a recent study, Cranial Osteopathy and Osteopathy was found to be an effective treatment in patients with TMD (Gesslbauer et al 2018).         

What do TMJ headaches feel like?

Typically they feel dull and aching maybe throbbing. Most commonly you experience headaches on one side, but it can also be both. The headache can be aggravated by jaw movement and relieved with relaxation.     

What causes TMJ to flare up?

Stressful lifestyle episodes can cause teeth grinding and contribute to TMJ flare-ups.  

What is the Best Way to Get Rid of TMJ?

At Wellthy Clinic we believe a combined approach of hands-on Osteopathy TMJ to help reduce the severity or frequency of your symptoms. TMJ disorder London is a common presentation and we believe we can help you. Still not 100% about cranial manipulation what is it & does it really work.

Matthew Glithero

Matthew Glithero

A Cranial Osteopath (MSCCO) who is passionate about treating people with TMD. He graduated (MOst) from the University College of Osteopathy.

More Resources On Cranial Osteopathy


Gesslbauer et al (2018) Effectiveness of osteopathic manipulative treatment versus osteopathy in the cranial field in temporomandibular disorders – a pilot study Disability Rehabilitation

Mani & Dua (2021) Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome Stat Pearls.

How to Find Us 

We are based at 63 New Cavendish Street, Marylebone, London, W1G 7LP. In the heart of the Harley Street medical district walking distance from the lovely Marylebone High Street. We are based within Asia House (the building with the big red doors).


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