Jaw pain can be extremely disabling for sufferers. Causes of jaw pain can range from posture problems, muscle overuse, stress to work-related injuries. The joint that is affected is called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which is the joint connecting your jaw to your skull. TMJ disorders can cause significant pain and are quite common.
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are located on each side of your face, just in front of each ear. The TMJ connects your jaw to your skull and allows for the movements necessary for eating, speaking and facial expression. When there are problems with the TMJ, symptoms such as pain, joint noises and abnormal movements can result.
Symptoms Of TMJ Disorders
TMJ disorders can cause many uncomfortable symptoms which interfere with daily life. These symptoms may include:
- Jaw pain
- Ear pain which may spread to the face
- Clicking or popping noises from the jaw
- Locking of the jaw
- Abnormal bite
TMJ disorders have many causes. Stress can cause problems with the TMJ due to jaw clenching and teeth grinding. Wear and tear of the joint can also occur due to diseases such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis or gout. Other causes can include injury and dental issues. Sometimes there is no obvious cause.
While there are many causes of TMJ disorders, the two most common causes usually result from jaw opening and closing problems.
Abnormal jaw opening: TMJ dysfunction can happen due to being unable to open your jaw normally or evenly. This kind of TMJ problem often responds well to physiotherapy.
Abnormal jaw closing: Problems closing the jaw properly can be due to the TMJ not closing correctly and/or teeth occlusion. Teeth occlusion will need a referral to a dental surgeon. However, if it is simply a joint or muscle issue, your physiotherapist will be able to successfully treat the problem.
Jaw Pain Treatment
Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment for TMJ disorders and you can seek out there assistance without a referral. Physio for jaw pain can provide professional assessment and management of the symptoms and provide relief from discomfort. TMJ physical therapy can help to:
- Restore normal joint function
- Reduce pain
- Reduce inflammation
- Increase jaw mobility
- Relax muscles
- Reduce associated symptoms such as neck problems
- Prevent further problems
There are some things you can do to relieve the symptoms associated with TMJ disorders:
- Avoid chewing gum
- Eat soft food
- Avoid jaw clenching
- Avoid opening the mouth too wide
- Cut food into small pieces
- Use a mouthguard at night to prevent teeth grinding and jaw clenching
Using relaxation techniques may also be effective in relieving symptoms as well as jaw strengthening techniques which can be demonstrated by your physiotherapist.
TMJ disorders can cause significant pain and discomfort. Physio for jaw pain is an effective treatment to help reduce symptoms associated with TMJ disorders. TMJ physical therapy is effective in helping you to increase jaw mobility, reduce pain and prevent further problems. To find out more about TMJ problems contact our experienced practitioners at Integrity Physio to make an appointment.