Are you experiencing jaw pain or discomfort? You may be suffering from TMJ pain. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a condition affecting the joint connecting the skull and jawbone. This can lead to pain and discomfort, difficulty speaking or chewing and a clicking or popping sensation when opening and closing your mouth. Our Orleans physiotherapists discuss assessment, management, and treatment of TMJ pain in this post.
Common Symptoms of TMJ Pain
TMJ disorder can cause a range of symptoms that vary in severity from person to person. Some common symptoms of TMJ pain include:
- Pain or tenderness in the jaw, face, ear, or neck
- Difficulty or discomfort when chewing, speaking, or opening your mouth wide
- Clicking or popping sound when opening/closing your mouth
- A feeling of "locking" in the jaw
- Headaches or migraines
- Ear pain or ringing in the ears
- Dizziness or vertigo
Causes of TMJ Pain
There is no one definitive cause of TMJ dysfunction, and it can develop for a variety of reasons. Some potential causes of TMJ pain include:
- Jaw injury or trauma
- Arthritis in the jaw joint
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Poor posture or stress
- Connective tissue disorders
How Physiotherapy Can Help with TMJ Pain
Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment option for TMJ disorder. Did you know that TMJ dysfunction is often influenced by poor posture or muscle tension? Our physiotherapists at Motion Works Physiotherapy Orleans, we can develop a customized treatment plan to address your specific needs and symptoms. Some ways that physiotherapy can help with TMJ pain include:
1. Manual Therapy & Modalities
Manual therapy techniques such as tissue mobilization, myofascial release, or trigger point therapy can help relieve muscle tension and improve joint mobility in the jaw and neck. Your physiotherapist can apply pressure to specific areas of your jaw and neck to help release tension and improve joint mobility. Modalities such as ultrasound, TENS, or acupuncture may also be considered depending on your presentation.
2. Jaw Exercises
Your physiotherapist may provide you with exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles in your jaw, neck, and face. These exercises can help improve joint mobility, reduce pain, and prevent further TMJ issues. Examples of exercises include:
- Jaw opening and closing rhythm & movement: Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth, then open your mouth wide, without a click/shift/pain, then slowly close your mouth. Repeat ten times
- Chin tucks: Sit up straight and tuck your chin in towards your chest, hold for a few seconds, and then relax. Repeat ten times.
3. Stretches for the jaw and neckYour physiotherapist may also recommend stretches for the muscles in your jaw and neck. These stretches can help relieve tension and improve joint mobility. Examples of stretches include:
- Neck rotation: Turn your head to one side and hold for a few seconds, then turn it back to the start. Repeat for the other side. Repeat several times.
- Head tilting: while seated and maintaining a straight spine, reach your right arm over towards your left ear and pull it towards your right shoulder. Hold for a few seconds before releasing. Repeat on other side
- Shoulder blade squeezes: Sit tall, with your chin tucked, then pinch your shoulder blades together against your spine. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat ten times.
4. EducationYour physiotherapist can help you understand the causes of TMJ pain and provide you with strategies to manage it. They can also advise you on lifestyle modifications such as diet changes, stress reduction techniques, and posture correction to reduce TMJ pain.
Physiotherapy at Motion Works Physiotherapy Orleans
Have you been feeling the effects of TMJ pain? Our team of physiotherapists at Motion Works Physiotherapy Orleans can work with you to develop a customized treatment plan to address your specific needs and goals!
Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards pain relief!