Why does my jaw ‘click’?

Have you ever felt a big ‘click’ or ‘pop’ as you have opened your jaw? and wondered why does my jaw click?Or maybe when you have been chewing on some food it constantly makes clicking noises? Don’t stress! This is a common occurrence as up to 60-70% of the population will experience a dysfunction of the jaw at some point in their life. Good news is that it’s also very treatable by a health care practitioner

The jaw is made up of the temporal bone (part of the cranium) as well as the mandible. Together they make up the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ). There is a small articular disc which divides the two bones up and provides a smooth fluid movement at the joint. There are lots of ligaments around the jaw which provide stability. The discomalleolar ligament arises from the smallest bones in your body (within the middle ear). If these ligaments get damaged, this will often lead to tinnitus or other inner ear conditions. That’s why there is a HUGE LINK between the ear dysfunction and jaw pain.

Muscles of the Jaw

There are many different muscles that attach to the jaw and allow movement in many directions. Closing – Masseter, medial pterygoid, anterior and middle temporalis, superior head of lateral pterygoid Opening – Inferior head of the lateral pterygoid, mylohyoid and digastric muscle, eccentric contraction of closing muscles against gravity

Protrusion (gliding jaw forward) – Lateral pterygoid

Retrusion (gliding jaw back) – Middle and posterior temporalis

Why does my jaw ‘click’? Exactly what is happening?

When you hear your jaw clicking, it is often a result from the articular disc being displaced. This can be due to a variety of reasons such as lax ligaments, muscle imbalances, arthritis, clenching/grinding teeth, trauma or sleep apnea. Treating these underlying issues can help get your jaw moving well with no pops or clicks!

How can an Osteopath help?

Using a variety of soft tissue techniques, we can release the tight muscles around the jaw and create more space within the joint capsule of the TMJ to allow greater ease for the articular disc to move when opening and closing your mouth. An Osteopath may also treat the cervical spine, as many muscles attach to both the jaw and neck. This is often why people who suffer from headaches are more likely to experience jaw pain. Don’t let jaw pain or constant clicking and popping sounds disrupt you in your daily life and come see one of our amazing osteopaths. You will be jaw-dropping amazed by the results!

cover image from: www.fibromyalgiacause.com and anatomical images from https://www.physio-pedia.com

Written by: Dr Ellie Sweeney – Associate Osteopath – MOVE Osteopathy New Farm and City


Dr Ellie Sweeney (Osteopath) graduated graduated from RMIT University with a Bachelor of Health Science/Bachelor of Applied Science (Osteopathy) and has also completed post-graduate qualifications in Dry Needling and Myofascial Cupping.

She is available from Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at our New Farm Clinic and at our City Clinic Monday and Friday

Book online to see Ellie here

Ready to book or make a referral

Move Health Co are here to help! Making a referral & booking online is the easiest, most convenient way to lock in the location, practitioner & time that works for you.