Jaw Pain? Physio can help!

Temporomandibular Joint pain

- John Paul Kola, Physiotherapist


Suffering from jaw pain? Physiotherapy can help!

Jaw pain is technically referred to as Temporomandibular Pain / disorder or dysfunction. The Jaw joint is called the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), and is a joint formed by the jawbone (the Mandible) and the Temporal bone in the skull. The TMJ performs tasks such as chewing, talking, yawning and smiling.

Did you know that pain in the TMJ region could also be associated with Neck pain and Headaches?

Signs of TMJ pain or dysfunction

  1. Pain in the TMJ region with jaw movements
  2. Joint noises like clicking with jaw movements
  3. Restricted mouth opening or other movements involving the jaw.

Some common causes:

  1. Can be triggered by trauma, e.g. Motor vehicle accidents
  2. Recent dental procedures which required having mouth open for some time
  3. Biting a big apple, king size burger
  4. Teeth grinding, jaw clenching

What are the structures at fault in TMJ pain?

TMJ pain/dysfunction can be caused by the joint itself or due to over working of the surrounding muscles.

How can physiotherapy help?

  1. Physiotherapy can help with reducing the stiffness in the TMJ and restore normal mobility in the jaw. This can be done through hands on treatment called joint mobilization.
  2. It can also help reduce muscle tension around the TMJ through gentle soft tissue hands on therapy.
  3. Physiotherapy can also help with identifying posture problems, which can cause neck pain, headaches and Jaw pain and treat them.
  4. Home exercises can be helpful in strengthening the muscles that influence the TMJ and help with long term resolution of symptoms.

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