Jaw Wars: My Battle with TMJ

In my journey with TMJ issues, I’ve encountered so many challenges that have prompted me to explore various methods for relief. I’ve tried everything: exercise, hydration, and a balanced diet, which is crucial for overall health, but addressing TMJ-specific concerns requires additional attention. This issue affects many of my patients, so I thought I would share my experience here.

Understanding the temporomandibular joint anatomy (TMJ) is the first step to help me cope. This joint, connecting the lower jaw to the skull, is pivotal in essential functions like speech, eating, and even breathing. An articular disc between the jaw components, ligaments, and powerful muscles contribute to its functionality.


One of the primary triggers for TMJ discomfort is stress-induced teeth clenching, which can lead to muscle shortening and joint inflammation. Managing stress and tension in the body is a critical step in TMJ care. I highly recommend practising relaxation techniques and mindfulness to alleviate this underlying cause.

Maintaining proper jaw alignment is also essential for managing TMJ symptoms. Creating a ‘Freeway Space’ by keeping the teeth slightly apart—about 2-4mm—can reduce strain on the joint. Using a mouthguard at night can help retain this space and prevent teeth grinding while asleep, a common contributor to TMJ issues.

Dietary adjustments can also significantly contribute to managing TMJ discomfort. Avoiding overly hard foods that require excessive chewing can minimize strain on the joint, and opting for softer, more easily digestible foods can help alleviate symptoms.

Surprisingly, everyday habits like headphone use can exacerbate TMJ discomfort by placing pressure on the joint area. Switching to earbuds or adjusting headphone placement can provide relief from this additional source of strain.

While managing TMJ issues can be challenging, incorporating these simple adjustments into daily life can make a significant difference. By addressing stress, maintaining proper jaw alignment, making dietary modifications, and being mindful of everyday habits, individuals can effectively manage TMJ symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.

For more comprehensive guidance on TMJ management, including free video resources, I recommend visiting https://kibworthosteopaths.co.uk/blog/jaw-wars/.

For more information on how Osteopathy can help you, please call me on 07761 664 325

Emily Coombes (B’Ost)

Registered Osteopath (7416)