What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. You can locate this joint by palpating on both sides of your head in front of your ears. This joint allows for movements such as to open and close your jaw, enabling you to speak and eat.
Some potential causes of TMJ are:
- Trauma to the jaw or the temporomandibular joint
- Habitual grinding or clenching of the teeth
- Structural jaw problems
- Erosion of the joint
- Forward head posture
What are some of the symptoms of TMJ?
The following symptoms depends on the severity and cause of the condition. Symptoms may present on one side or both sides of the face.
- Pain in the jaw and surrounding muscles
- Pain felt in the face and/or neck
- Muscle stiffness felt in the jaw
- Limited movement of the jaw
- Locking of the jaw
- Clicking or popping from the temporomandibular joint
- Shift in the jaw
- Headaches or migraines
- Earaches or pain around the ear that spreads to the cheek area
How physiotherapy can help with TMJ disorders:
After the physiotherapist performs a comprehensive assessment, a detailed treatment plan will be created. Gentle TMJ exercises may be prescribed, such as stretching the jaw slightly. As well as performing some soft tissue release around the jaw may help. Utilizing modalities such as the ultrasound, IFC, shockwave, and heat or ice therapy. The physiotherapist will also provide at home jaw exercises to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility and range of motion.