Jaw Pain And Clicking : Temperomandibular Disorder

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) refers to disorders of the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) a.k.a the jaw.

The TMJ is found at the side of the face, just in front of the ear.

Your TMJ is probably one of the most used joints in the body and without them we would be unable to talk, eat, yawn, kiss or express ourselves as we know it.

Temperomandibular Disorder Symptoms

Those suffering with TMD might experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pain around the jaw and/or face
  • Clicking, popping, snapping, grating or other joint noises
  • Stiffness or limitation opening the mouth, yawning, chewing, etc.
  • Unevenness with jaw movements
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Clenching or tension in facial muscles (masseter, temporalis)
  • Tension in neck and shoulder muscles
  • Headaches
  • Pain in and/or around the ear
  • Worn teeth or toothache

Cause Of Temperomandibular Disorder

TMD problems generally have causes relating to either the joint or muscles around the joint.

Common causes of TMD can include:

  • Trauma – such as a direct blow to the jaw/face
  • Bruxism (grinding of the teeth)
  • Clenching
  • Biting something awkwardly
  • Postural issues
  • Prolonged dental procedures
  • Emotional stress
  • Arthritis
  • Cervical spine (neck) complaints

Treatment For Temperomandibular Disorder

In most cases TMD can be improved and the problem can be managed effectively.

Treatment is often shared between disciplines including; dentists, orthodontists, oral & maxillofacial surgeons, psychologists, and physiotherapists who have an understanding of the joint structure and  function.

Physiotherapy management of TMD will aim to manage pain, reduce muscle tone, and improve quality of movement to restore function to the TMJ.

Your physio will start by assessing your pain/problem and deciding the best way to treat this.

Treatment may involve:

  • Manual therapy to the TMJ
  • Acupuncture/dry needling
  • Soft tissue mobilisation
  • Tigger point therapy
  • Exercise prescription / self-management techniques
  • Postural re-education
  • Manual therapy to the cervical and/or thoracic spine

If you, or someone you know are experiencing any of the above symptoms, call 8356 1379 to arrange an appointment or book online.

We love helping clients from the Grange, Henley Beach and West Lakes areas and look forward to helping you soon.

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