Osteopathic Treatment

A lot of people on the Facebook groups have recommended seeing an osteopath or craniosacral therapist while undergoing expansion. I now have benefits that include osteopath visits, so I figured I should give it a shot. I have seen an osteopath three times so far, and one of the things he worked on was my jaw. It turns out I have some leftover whiplash in my neck and right shoulder from when I got rear-ended in 2017, which has added in a complicating factor. He said that the whiplashed muscles are close enough to the jaw that their tightness can mess up treating the jaws tightness, so we need to work on both the shoulder, neck and jaw together.

In a way osteopathic treatment is ridiculously simple. All my therapist does is gently stretch muscles in a particular way several times to help loosen them up. The skill comes in identifying what muscles are tighter than they should be, and doing it to the point where full mobility is returned. And of course not accidentally injuring me during treatment. The actual jaw stretches are simple enough that I have been doing them at home as well.

Here are the stretches. They are done very gently and about ten times each. I need to fully relax while they are done, and let him do the movements without my help.

Stretch one: he put on gloves, and put his thumbs in my mouth on my lower molars and his palm on my chin. He gently pressed down with his thumbs to stretch the TMJ downwards, while using his palm to hold my chin steady so it is a slightly rotational movement. I have tried this at home, it’s hard to do to myself.

Stretch two: he gently stretched my mouth as wide as it would open. This one is easy to do.

Stretch three: he put two fingers at the top of my mandible, right beside my ear lobe. He pushed medially (towards the center of my head) gently so that my whole lower jaw moved a bit to the side. I can do this exercise myself, but I feel like I could easily overdo it and do something to my TMJ.

I suspect that my jaw feels a bit better from the treatment. It’s hard to know if it is helping a lot because right now my molars don’t really line up, so my lower jaw is awkwardly positioned. This means that it never feels at rest, so I wonder if it is a bit more tense because of that. So I am feeling more tense than usual, which means I have no baseline. Still, my shoulder and neck feel so much better from the treatment that I assume the jaw is experiencing similar benefits. I see no harm in continuing, and I assume that my TMJs are benefiting from treatment.

I have not seen a craniosacral therapist. I have contacted two, and they are not taking on new patients because of covid. I have now contacted a third and I’m waiting to see what happens.

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Class 3 MSE

30 year old male, undergoing MSE and maxillary protraction for Class 3 malocclusion. Never had orthodontic work before, have all 32 teeth.