OMT for Temporomandibular Disorders
Updated: May 20
The temporomandibular joint is crucial for chewing and vocalization, and dysfunction of this joint can occur for a variety of reasons, such as lack of coordination or stiffness of the joint itself. An effective and conservative first-line treatment can be osteopathic manipulative treatment. Let’s delve deeper into how this treatment works and the techniques involved in this therapy.
The Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy (OMT)
The OMT (Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy) procedure mobilizes weakened temporomandibular joints when no other treatment has performed well enough to provide relief. Literature reviews have shown that the role of osteopathy in muscle strengthening and its effectiveness is supported by evidence of its effectiveness in the treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
Focusing on improving the biomechanics of the temporomandibular joint by improving hypertonic muscles can be an effective and conservative first-line treatment for TMJ disease, enabling improved movement and reducing pain and discomfort. This technique that treats the unilateral muscle dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint, can target the chewing muscles and reduce pain, sensitivity, and inflammation, restore oral motor skills and improve movement.
Muscle energy techniques can certainly be used in many patients but are contraindicated if there is a direct active technique involving the movement of a joint or its muscles. The treatment described is not intended to treat a specific disease but is a diagnosis and treatment plan that an osteopathic physician can use to address the entire condition of the patient.
The Muscle Energy Technique (MET), Myofascial Release (MFR), and Balanced Ligamentous Tension (BLT) techniques are sparsely mentioned in medical literature, but they successfully minimize the regional pain associated with loss of control over the movement of muscles and joints, as well as joint pain, joint stiffness such as stiffness in temporomandibular joints.
The Muscle Energy Technique (MET)
The Muscle Energy Technique (MET) is an active technique in osteopathy (manipulative medicine) that erects restrictive barriers to strain the system. This activity reviews the assessment and treatment of temporomandibular joint dysfunction and underlines the importance of using muscle energy technology as an effective treatment for the development of joint mobility and coordination. Physicians apply precise muscle effort to a counterforce in a certain position or in certain directions with a certain amount of push or pull force. The required amount of force ranges from a minimum to a maximum contraction, and the MET can mobilize or prolong spastic or weakened muscles.
Myofascial Release (MFR)
Myofascial release (MFF) is a passive maneuver applied to the temporomandibular joint and requires the application of a small amount of force. The doctor twists and compresses it, repeatedly touching the tissue of this joint and muscles and transforming it from tightness into looseness. Dentists reported in the dental literature that temporomandibular joint disorders, which were initially called dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint, were due to a lack of coordination of the ligaments that guide the movements of the temporomandibular muscles.
Balanced Ligamentous Tension (BLT)
Balanced ligamentous tension (BLT) is a passive-active technique that exaggerates temporomandibular joint diseases. BLT is used as a basis to restore order in the joint, as well as an alternative treatment for pain and inflammation of both the front and back shins.
The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
The temporomandibular joint is a complex joint that allows the lower jaw to be lifted and deepened in order to achieve a lubricating effect. The jaw blade has a disc that cushions it in the maxillary and sinus fossa and fixes it to the spherical ligaments.
The key point is the temporal bone of the mandible, and the areas that can be recognized by temporal bone palpation include the anterior and posterior mandible, as well as the upper and lower temporal bone.
The anterior and posterior mandible, as well as the upper and lower temporal bones, belong to the palpable areas of the mandible. Another important sight that is not palpable is the presence of a large amount of pain in the lower jaw, especially on the right side.
The angle of the mandible is connected to the styloid process by stylomandibular ligaments that contract and expand to allow hinges and sliding movements that open and close the jaw. The lateral joint ligaments of the mandible are balanced internally by a spherical bandage, and the angle between the lateral and posterior mandible remains clinically significant in patients with temporomandibular joint pain as well as in patients with other forms of jaw pain.
Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)
Temporomandibular disorder is classified as a secondary headache disorder affecting more than 25% of the population. around 12% of the population show at least one TMD symptom. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is due to a lack of coordination of the ligaments that control temporomandibular joint movement. This disease is characterized by its problems with the associated musculoskeletal structure, which include joint stiffness, joint pain and dysfunction, and joint injuries.
The masticatory muscles include the temporomandibular joint capsule and the intervertebral disc, which are responsible for joint stability and joint mobility. Muscle and ligament function can lead to muscle dysfunction, muscle atrophy, and dysfunction of ligaments and tendons, which ultimately leads to pain and disability.
Many patients with TMJ problems have an overbite that is classified as class II in the dental literature. Some patients have little or nothing, while class III is a lower teeth bulge.
Doctors must assess the patient’s posture, which is a key indicator of TMJ disease. Symmetry or asymmetry of the face is the primary sign of TMJ disorder, but somatic dysfunction, which leads to exaggeration or restriction of movement, may serve as further evidence.
Doctors must go through a thorough observation phase through palpating the temporomandibular joint by opening and closing the mouth. In case of dysfunction and pain problems, a clear deviation from the lower jaw of the midline can be observed, as well as abnormalities in the upper jaw.
Doctors may also hear a click or pop when opening the mouth, as well as pain in the lower jaw. The click and pop in the temporomandibular joint can be due to the movement of the lower jaw, joint or intervertebral disc. This biomechanical depression is caused by an imbalance between the infrahyoid muscles and the unilateral hypertonic lateral pterygoid, which causes a contralateral mandibular deviation.
The temporomandibular joint itself is innervated by the lower section of the trigeminal nerve, which also stimulates the skin in the temporal region. The joint can be irritated by pain or discomfort caused by jaw opening, such as a toothache or a broken tooth, as well as by pain and discomfort.
Although the causes of TMD are multifactorial, including psychological factors, most symptoms are due to hyperactive or dysfunctional muscles. Therefore, treatment with muscle manipulation techniques can improve TMD. Chronic cases can have negative effects on social activities and employment, leading to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. Treatment covers joint disorders that also affect the muscles, such as muscle spasms, muscle atrophy, and joint pain. Before considering invasive options such as orthodontic surgery, conservative treatment should be tried first. If you want to learn more about natural treatments for TMJ, seek a chiropractor at Natural Care Chiropractic to discuss your treatment options and treatment plan.