By Athlete's Care on September 20, 2022
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, a complex structure that acts as a sliding hinge connecting the jawbone to the rest of the skull. There is one TMJ on each side of the jaw.
TMJ disorders (also dubbed TMD) result in pain and discomfort, and affect the movement of the jaw. The causes of TMJ disorders are often hard to pinpoint. There may be a variety of issues at play, including:
Much of the time, TMJ disorders are temporary in nature, and surgery and other interventions are relatively rare.
TMJ disorders can be hard to diagnose. Here’s what you can observe on your own, and let your Toronto physiotherapist know about during your consultation:
Pain may focus around the joint, or radiate towards the ear, and culminate in a locking of the jaw, meaning it is difficult to either open or close. If there is persistent pain and tenderness, it’s time to see a doctor for a firm diagnosis.
Once your TMJ has been diagnosed via examination and imaging such as a dental X-ray or CT scan, the underlying problem may also be revealed.
In cases where surgery is not indicated, physiotherapy can help. While the research is as yet limited, TMJ exercises have been known to help induce relaxation of tight jaw muscles, and increase mobility.
Your Toronto physiotherapist can suggest a range of exercises designed to relax the jaw, improve mobility, and help reduce pain.
In some cases, medical acupuncture has also proven to be useful in relieving pressure in the jaw, as well as massaging the joint and muscles around it. Along with physiotherapy, there are other simple measures you can take to alleviate symptoms:
If you are experiencing pain in your jaw, or you have been diagnosed with a TMJ disorder and would like to add physiotherapy to your treatment plan, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy clinics today for a consultation.