Posts filed under: TMJ Disorder

TMJ Disorders: How Dry Needling Can Help

Dry Needling for TMJ Disorders | TMJ Chiropractor

Dry needling is a growing treatment modality used in the management of an array of musculoskeletal conditions. At Empowered Health Chiropractic, our Geelong-based TMJ chiropractors utilise dry needling in the treatment of TMJ disorders, often involving the muscles of the jaw, face & skull.

In this post, our Geelong chiropractor Luka, will discuss some of the several benefits dry needling can have.

Reduction in pain

When compared to other treatment options and sham therapy, dry needling improved pain intensity and pressure pain threshold.

Interestingly, when compared to wet needling with local anesthetic, Lignocaine, dry needling had similar outcomes in the short-term.

Reduction in muscle activity / Increase muscle relaxation

This is thought to be due to a cascade that reduces a specific neurotransmitter, increasing local muscle oxygenation levels, leading to relaxation of muscles in the area.

Increase mouth opening range

Often an outcome of pain and muscle activity reduction, allowing for a greater range of motion of the TMJ.

Improve jaw mechanics

Dry needling has been considered a neuromuscular de-programmer, due to its changes at a nervous system & muscular level.

Often these changes, in conjunction with exercise therapy, can promote better muscle & joint function of the jaw.


  1. Dib-Zakkour J, Flores-Fraile J, Montero-Martin J, Dib-Zakkour S, Dib-Zaitun I. Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Dry Needling in the Treatment of Myogenous Temporomandibular Joint Disorders. Medicina (Kaunas). 2022 Feb 9;58(2):256. doi: 10.3390/medicina58020256. PMID: 35208580; PMCID: PMC8876889.
  2. Vier C, Almeida MB, Neves ML, Santos ARSD, Bracht MA. The effectiveness of dry needling for patients with orofacial pain associated with temporomandibular dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Braz J Phys Ther. 2019 Jan-Feb;23(1):3-11. doi: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2018.08.008. Epub 2018 Aug 22. PMID: 30146108; PMCID: PMC6546838.

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How to Know: Muscle vs Joint TMJ Pain

TMJ Pain

TMJ pain, symptoms or collectively known as TMJ disorders, can commonly affect the muscles and joints of the face, head & jaw. While some conditions can involve both the muscles and joints, here is a quick go-to guide to differentiate between a more muscular, or more joint TMJ issue.

In this article, our resident TMJ chiropractor Dr Luka, will discuss some of the common features we might see with each condition.

Muscular TMJ conditions:

With more muscular TMJ problems, these can often be a more recent onset of symptoms (i.e. within days, weeks or months).

We often might see associated behaviours like clenching or grinding (day or night).

Can often be accompanied with heightened stress, depression or anxiety levels.

We often might see a restricted or limitation in jaw mobility (especially mouth opening)

Joint TMJ conditions:

With more joint TMJ problems, these can often be longer term symptoms (i.e. months to years, as opposed to days or weeks).

There can be developed joint noises (e.g. clicking, popping, grinding)

These conditions can start out more muscular and develop into joint issues over time.

We might see reduced jaw mobility (often more so than muscular type).

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Our experienced team at Empowered Health Chiropractic are here to help! We see a range of TMJ disorders and have a variety of strategies to help provide relief, improve movement and restore function to the TMJ.

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5 Facts about the TMJ you may not know

What is the TMJ (temporomandibular joint)? | TMJ Chiropractor

The temporomandibular joint (otherwise referred to as TMJ) is a common area of complaint our Geelong TMJ chiropractors often experience. The TMJs are the two joints comprised of muscles, ligaments and discs, that connect your jaw to your skull.

At Empowered Health Chiropractic, our experienced TMJ chiropractors understand the importance of a personalised treatment approach in managing the complexity of TMJ disorders, as no two jaw issues are the same.

In this blog post, our TMJ chiropractor Luka will highlight 5 facts you may not know about the TMJ.

5 facts about the TMJ you may not know

  1. TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder, is the term used to describe the condition affecting the jaw muscles, temporomandibular joints, and the nerves associated with facial pain.
  2. TMJ disorders are quite common, present in approximately 10-15% of the population and affect women more so than men.
  3. Common symptoms of TMJ disorders can include:
    1. Pain in the jaw, face or ear
    2. Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
    3. Clicking or popping noises in the jaw
    4. Headaches
    5. Neck pain
  4. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment approach to TMJ disorders, the best treatment for you will depend on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying cause of your disorder.
  5. TMJ disorders can often be associated with other conditions, such as; regular headaches, migraines & sleep apnoea.

Are you experiencing TMJ issues? Our experienced TMJ chiropractor are available to consult 6 days per week, with early, late and weekend appointments available.

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  1. Murphy MK, MacBarb RF, Wong ME, Athanasiou KA. Temporomandibular disorders: a review of etiology, clinical management, and tissue engineering strategies. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants. 2013;28(6):e393-e414. doi:10.11607/jomi.te20

How Your Posture Can Affect Your TMJ

How your posture can affect your TMJ | TMJ Chiropractor

Your posture, and more notably, your head, neck and upper back posture can affect your TMJ in a number of ways. When you hold your head forward, it can place extra strain on the muscles and ligaments in your neck, head and jaw. What our TMJ chiropractors often see, that over time this can lead to pain, clicking or popping noises, and difficulty chewing.

In this blog post, our Geelong chiropractor for TMJ, Dr Luka, will discuss the consequences of poor posture on the TMJ and some strategies you can implement right away.

Here are some of the ways that head and neck posture can affect your TMJ:

  • Increased muscle tension: When you hold your head forward, it puts extra strain on the muscles in your neck and jaw. This can lead to increases in muscle tension, which can cause pain, limit jaw movements and make it difficult to chew.
  • Impaired joint function: When you hold your head forward, it can put stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. This can lead to impaired joint function, which can cause inflammation, pain, clicking or popping noises, and difficulty chewing.

Here are some tips from our TMJ chiropractor for improving your head and neck posture:

  • Sitting up straight: When you’re sitting, try being more aware that your back is upright, long spine and your shoulders are relaxed. Try avoid slouching or hunching over.
  • Standing up straight: When you’re standing, keep your spine long, chest proud and shoulders relaxed. Avoid leaning forward or slouching.
  • Using a computer monitor at eye level: When you’re using a computer, make sure the monitor is at eye level. This will reduce the chance of hunching or slouching forward. This will in turn help to reduce the strain on your neck and jaw.
  • Taking breaks: If you find yourself holding your head forward for a long period of time, take a break and stretch your neck and jaw. Frequent breaks can act as little posture reset, while also reducing the stress on these key areas.
  • Seeing a health professional: If you’re experiencing TMJ pain, it’s important to see a TMJ chiropractor, dentist or other qualified health professional. They can help you determine the cause of your pain and recommend treatment options.

If you’re experiencing TMJ pain, it’s important to consult a professional to get a diagnosis and treatment plan. There are a number of effective treatments available for TMJ pain, and the sooner you start treatment, the sooner you’ll start to feel relief.

Our TMJ chiropractors in Geelong are experienced in managing a variety of TMJ disorders, if you’d like to discuss your specific case with us before an appointment contact us on (03) 4250 9865 or

How Chiropractic Care Can Help TMJ Pain

How Chiropractic care can help TMJ pain | TMJ Chiropractor

At Empowered Health Chiropractic, our experienced TMJ chiropractors incorporate a multi-modal approach to managing a range of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, from acute flare ups to chronic joint and disc conditions.

Our Geelong chiropractors can help with TMJ disorders by:

  • Improving jaw joint mechanics. This can help to reduce pain and improve function.
  • Releasing muscle tension. This can help to reduce pain and improve range of motion.
  • Improving posture. This can help to reduce stress on the jaw joint.
  • Educating patients about TMJ disorders and how to manage their symptoms. This can help patients to take control of their condition and improve their quality of life.

Our TMJ chiropractors take a safe and effective treatment approach for TMJ disorders. Our approach is non-invasive and does not require surgery or medication. Our chiropractic care can help to reduce pain, improve function, and improve quality of life for people with TMJ disorders.

Here are some of the chiropractic techniques our TMJ chiropractors use to treat TMJ disorders:

  • Manipulation/mobilisation of the jaw joint. This is a gentle, hands-on technique that is used to improve function in the jaw joint and reduce pain.
  • Dry needlingThis can help reduce muscle tension and promote better muscle function around the joint.
  • Soft tissue therapy. This can help to relax the muscles in the jaw and neck and reduce pain.
  • Stretching exercises. This can help to improve range of motion and reduce pain.
  • Exercises to strengthen the jaw muscles. This can help to improve function and reduce pain.
  • Education and advice. Chiropractors can provide patients with information about TMJ disorders and how to manage their symptoms.

If you are considering chiropractic care for TMJ disorders, it is important to find a chiropractor who is experienced in treating this condition. You should also be sure to discuss your treatment options with your chiropractor to make sure that chiropractic care is right for you.


  1. Allan Kalamir, Henry Pollard, Andrew L. Vitiello, Rod Bonello, Manual therapy for temporomandibular disorders: A review of the literature, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Volume 11, Issue 1, 2007, Pages 84-90, ISSN 1360-8592,
  2. Peter Nicolakis, Erdogmus Celal Burak, Josef Kollmitzer, Andreas Kopf, Eva Piehslinger, Günther Franz Wiesinger & Veronika Fialka-Moser (2001) An Investigation of the Effectiveness of Exercise and Manual Therapy in Treating Symptoms of TMJ Osteoarthritis, CRANIO®, 19:1, 26-32, DOI: 10.1080/08869634.2001.11746148

How Can Dry Needling Help With TMJ Pain?

How can dry needling help with TMJ pain? | TMJ Chiropractor

Dry needling is a type of treatment that involves inserting thin, sterile needles into specific points in the body. It is a strategy our Geelong TMJ chiropractors often use to treat muscle pain and other conditions, including temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.

TMJ disorders affect the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. It can cause a variety of symptoms, including pain, clicking or popping noises, and difficulty chewing.

Dry needling is thought to help with TMJ pain by releasing muscle tension and inflammation. When the needles are inserted into the affected muscles, they can relief muscle tension and promote better muscle function. Dry needling can also help to improve blood flow to the affected area, which can also help to reduce pain and inflammation.

A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that dry needling was effective in reducing pain and improving function in people with TMJ disorders. The study participants who received dry needling reported a significant decrease in pain and an improvement in their ability to chew after just four treatments.

Dry needling is a safe and effective treatment for TMJ pain. However it is important to note that dry needling may not be effective for everyone. If you are considering dry needling for TMJ pain, it is important to talk to your chiropractor or a qualified healthcare professional.

Here are some of the benefits of dry needling for TMJ pain:

  • Reduces pain
  • Improves function
  • Safe and effective
  • Non-invasive
  • Can be used in conjunction with other treatments

If you are considering dry needling for TMJ pain, it is important to talk to your TMJ chiropractor or a qualified healthcare professional. They can help you determine if dry needling may be a suitable option for you.


  1. Dıraçoğlu, Demirhan et al. ‘Effectiveness of Dry Needling for the Treatment of Temporomandibular Myofascial Pain: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo Controlled Study’. 1 Jan. 2012 : 285 – 290.
  2. Mehmet Cem Özden PhD, Berkem Atalay DDS, MSc, PhD, Ali Veysel Özden DDS, PhD, Abdülkadir Çankaya DDS, PhD, Erdinç Kolay PhD & Sami Yıldırım DDS, PhD (2020) Efficacy of dry needling in patients with myofascial temporomandibular disorders related to the masseter muscle, CRANIO®, 38:5, 305-311, DOI: 10.1080/08869634.2018.1526848

Top TMJ Exercises

Top TMJ exercises | TMJ Chiropractor

At Empowered Health Chiropractic in Geelong, our TMJ chiropractors understand the importance of incorporating exercises & rehab within the overall management of TMJ-related conditions.

Supporting our manual therapy strategies with home-based exercises not only enhances treatment outcomes, but also creates self autonomy and independence in managing TMJ-related problems in the future. Essentially, our Geelong TMJ chiropractors want to give our clients the tools and strategies to get back on track and keep themselves there in the future.

The best part, most of the exercises for the TMJ don’t require fancy equipment, gym memberships or take a considerable amount of time to perform. In saying that, our TMJ chiropractors often prescribe small bouts of specific TMJ exercises dispersed throughout the day.

In this blog, our TMJ chiropractor Luka, will demonstrate three types of exercises specific for the TMJ.

If you would like to discuss your specific TMJ issue with out team, please call (03) 4250 9865 or book an appointment online here.

Reduce TMJ muscle tension & improve joint mobility

Retrain muscle function & joint stability

Optimise TMJ muscle & joint function

Book an appointment with our TMJ chiropractor

Book an appointment online


  1. Irmgard Simma-Kletschka, Nikolaus Artacker, Michael Balla, Nikolaus Oellerer, Eva Piehslinger & Cinzia Fornai (2023) Initial therapeutic approaches for orofacial myofascial pain: three pilot studies, CRANIO®,DOI: 10.1080/08869634.2023.2198397
  2. Sudarshan Anandkumar & Murugavel Manivasagam (2022) Physical therapist guided active intervention of chronic temporomandibular disorder presenting as ear pain: A case report, Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 38:13, 3146-3158, DOI: 10.1080/09593985.2021.1938307
  3. Leanna Blanchard, Steven Goostree & Alison Duncombe (2022) Graded exposure and orthopedic manual physical therapy for kinesiophobia and function in chronic temporomandibular dysfunction: A case report, CRANIO®, 40:5, 454-467, DOI: 10.1080/08869634.2020.1779483

Clenching Or Grinding Your Jaw? How To Help

What causes us to grind or clench? | TMJ Chiropractor

Jaw clenching or grinding, otherwise known as bruxism, can be a common yet problematic issue when managing TMJ and facial pain. Bruxism can be further distinguished as sleep bruxism, awake bruxism and non-specified bruxism. In order to effectively relieve and manage jaw clenching or grinding, we must initially understand the underlying cause of the behaviour. At an individual level, certain personality traits, such as those with high stress sensitivity or anxious traits, are more likely to develop TMJ pain associated with bruxism.

While bruxism can be chacterised as clenching our teeth during the day or grinding our teeth during our sleep, these behaviours are clearly an effect or output of a wound up or heightened state of nervous system activity. For example, have you ever noticed when you are under significant stress, no matter the origin, that you find yourself more likely to clench, hold tension through your jaw, neck or shoulders?

In summary, it’s important to understand this concept, teeth or jaw clenching and grinding is likely an output or an effect of a heightened central nervous system state. In order to effectively manage it, the underlying nervous system state needs to be considered in the overall management. This is why our Geelong TMJ chiropractors take a holistic and comprehensive approach to the assessment, diagnosis and management of TMJ disorders related to grinding and clenching.

Here's what our Geelong TMJ chiropractors recommend for reducing grinding and clenching behaviours

-Understand your triggers-

Do you ever notice that when you’re under significant stress, whether that be with work, family or any other potential stressor for that matter, that your clenching or grinding becomes more noticeable?

If this is you, chances are you have an underlying nervous system cause of your clenching or grinding.

You don’t know what you don’t know, better understanding your triggers, traits or behaviours when exposed to certain stressors in a good start in managing this long term.


Manage your triggers

By managing, I don’t mean trying to control every single stress that gets thrown our way because that never really ends well. Instead, learning to better manage how we respond and ultimately allow these stresses manifest is far more realistic.

Mindfulness-based, non-sleep deep rest (NSDR) strategies have shown to promote a calming and pacifying effect on our central nervous system.


-Improve your awareness-

Watch the video to see what our Geelong TMJ chiropractors recommend for improving jaw and muscle awareness.

-Promote better jaw muscle and joint function-

In this video, our Geelong TMJ chiropractors discuss an easy-to-implement exercise to promote better joint and muscle function.


  1. Zheng B, Ma J, Wang X, Pu Y, Sun H, Su Y, Yang Q, Lu S, He H. A review about risk factors for bruxism in adults. anxiety. 2022 Mar 1;4(3):33-8. doi: 10.25236/FMSR.2022.040306
  2. Demjaha G, Kapusevska B, Pejkovska-Shahpaska B. Bruxism Unconscious Oral Habit in Everyday Life. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. 2019 Mar 14;7(5):876-881. doi: 10.3889/oamjms.2019.196. PMID: 30962854; PMCID: PMC6447347.
  3. Ronald E. Goldstein, Wendy Auclair Clark, The clinical management of awake bruxism, The Journal of the American Dental Association, Volume 148, Issue 6, 2017, Pages 387-391, ISSN 0002-8177,

Do You Have TMJ Dysfunction? How To Recognise The Signs

What Is TMJ Dyfunction?

At Empowered Health, our Geelong chiropractors are experienced in dealing with temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or otherwise known as TMJ dysfunction. According to demographical research, it is thought that up to 70% of the population exhibit signs of TMJ dysfunction, with 10% of this group going on to experience symptoms related to the TMJ.

Our Geelong chiropractors understand how impactful TMJ issues can be, whether when we are chewing, talking, working or sleeping. Our Geelong based team have covered information on the causes, assessment and management of TMJ disorders previously.

In this blog post, we will discuss some key signs of TMJ dysfunction our Geelong based team see.

Signs Of TMJ Dysfunction

- Limited or restricted mouth opening -

Normal mouth opening is measured from the top tip of your bottom teeth, to the bottom tip of your top teeth. For most people, this should fall somewhere between 40-50mm when the mouth is completely open.

Note – This range should not be painful or sore either.


- Asymmetrical or uneven jaw movement -

When our two TMJs work well together in a synchronous, symmetrical manner, we should see a linear movement pattern when we open our jaw.

However, when we experience changes in the function of our muscles, discs or joints related to the TMJ, we can start seeing asymmetries to the way our jaw moves, often showing a ‘J’ or curved like jaw motion.


- Clicking or popping with jaw motion -

Audible noises from the TMJ when moving the jaw can mean a few different things, however, a common cause of noises is due to disc movement.

Ideally, the disc within our TMJ moves in a cohesive way without restricting normal jaw motion or causing pain.


- A tender to touch TMJ/s -

Pain or tenderness over the TMJ (in front of the ear) can be a sign of an inflammatory process occurring in or around the TMJ, commonly involving the joint capsule or synovium.

This can occur often occur due to an acute trauma, or from ongoing stress to the TMJ caused by dysfunctional movement, postural stress, increased muscle tension, a centrally mediated nervous system problem, and of course, a combination them.

Want To Make An Appointment?

Book an appointment via our online booking system, call our clinic on (03) 4250 9865 or email


  1. Pundkar, S. U. S. H. M. A., Patil, D. E. E. P. A. L. I., & Naqvi, W. A. Q. A. R. (2019). Effectiveness of Rocabado approach and Conventional Physiotherapy on pain, ROM and QOL in patients with TMJ dysfunction: Comparative Study. J Crit Rev, 6(6), 925-929.
  2. Rezaie, K., Amiri, A., Takamjani, E. E., Shirani, G., Salehi, S., & Alizadeh, L. (2022). The Efficacy of Neck and Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Manual Therapy in Comparison With a Multimodal Approach in the Patients with TMJ Dysfunction: A Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial. Med. J. Islam. Repub. Iran, 36, 328-337.
  3. Fiorillo, L., & Musumeci, G. (2020). TMJ dysfunction and systemic correlation. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology, 5(1), 20.

Better Results, Faster, With Multi Modal Chiropractic Care

What is multi modal Chiropractic care?

At Empowered Health Chiropractic, our Geelong chiropractors often hear that we are quite distinct from other health practitioners in the way we assess, treat and manage a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. We are commonly referred to as multi-modal chiropractors, meaning, we use a variety of methods to achieve optimal outcomes in pain relief, better movement and function for our clients. Whilst we incorporate traditional chiropractic care, we also utilise a variety of soft tissue therapies, dry needling, exercise and rehabilitation methods.

Our Geelong chiropractors understand no two people are the same, having a skillset of different strategies have enabled us at Empowered Health Chiropractic to effectively treat not only the problem at hand, but most importantly, each person individually and specifically.

Our techniques have helped our clients with low back painneck painheadachesTMJ painshoulder painsciaticadizziness & vertigo and more.

Male Geelong chiropractor performing manual chiropractic treatment to female client

Manual chiropractic adjustments

Our aim with manual chiropractic adjustments is effective pain relief and quick improvements in joint and muscle function.

Often used as part of an overall management plan, in conjunction with other soft tissue therapy, exercise & rehabilitation.


Education is essential to not only better understand your condition but also the causes underlying it.

This is important in the short & long-term when managing your condition between treatment and independently.

Knowing what lifestyle & activity modifications to make specifically to you, can allow your body to get back on track quicker.

Dry needling & other soft tissue therapies

Dry needling is another effective strategy we employ to reduce myofacial pain and promote better muscle function.

This may be in the form of traditional massage techniques, dry needling, active release technique (ART) and more.

Exercise & rehabilitation therapy

Our ultimate goal at Empowered Health, is to get you moving, feeling and functioning at your best long term.

An essential pillar of sustaining our outcomes is through home-care, strength and movement training.

Our Geelong Chiropractors want you to be feel empowered over your health condition, allowing you to take back control of your life.

Chiropractic spinal rehabilitation and exercise therapy
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    TMJ Pain And How Chiropractic Care Can Help

    What is TMJ pain?

    The temporomandibular joint, otherwise better known as the TMJ, is the articulation between the temporal bone of the cranium, the disc and the condyle of the mandible. This paired joint comprises of two key motions, rotation and translation, both of which allow the mouth to open and close. This functional relationship is important in allowing us to chew, talk or yawn without much of a thought.

    However, sometimes our TMJs can become painful or symptomatic, this is often referred to as a TMJ disorder. These symptoms can be of arthrogenic (the joint, disc etc) or myogenic (muscular) in nature. However, often these two are paired in a large portion of TMJ disorders, especially when they are chronic or ongoing.

    There are factors which have shown to increase the likelihood of developing a TMJ disorder. Some of these factors include habitual clenching, grinding, occlusal issues, central nervous system sensitivity and more.


    How do you assess the TMJ?

    Thorough history of the TMJ pain (I.e. When it started, type of symptoms, aggravating factors etc)

    Comprehensive examination, viewing posture, TMJ motion, occlusion, palpatory findings, pain mapping and more


    How do you treat TMJ disorders?

    Similar to how you would treat other painful joints and muscles

    Manual therapies, may include dry needling, specific joint manipulations, mobilisations and soft tissue therapy

    Progressive exercise and rehabilitation plan to promote better muscle and joint function