The Temporomandibular Joints (TMJs), or jaw joints, are the most used joints in the body and play one of the most important roles in everyday activity. Our TMJs allow us to breathe, eat, speak and express ourselves. When the joints are damaged, known as TMJ dysfunction, it can be very difficult for sufferers to resume these normal activities and it can result in painful consequences. Physiotherapy can diagnose the cause of TMJ dysfunction and treat the joints to lessen pain and improve or resolve the injury. Physiotherapists who specialise in treating TMJ dysfunction offer sufferers personalised exercises and expert advice, to ensure normality and health beyond treatment.
What Causes TMJ Pain?
This musculoskeletal disorder can result from many genetic or inflicted incidents and issues, though its most common causes include:
• Masticatory muscle dysfunction: muscles of the jaw and muscles used to chew
• Bruxism: Those that clench their jaw or grind the teeth put pressure on the TMJs and cause asymmetrical movement
• Derangement or displacement of the TMJ articular disc
• Occlusal problems such as an incorrect bite
TMJ dysfunction can be aggravated by orthodontic treatment that causes misalignment in the jaw, whiplash or trauma to the chin, infection, or even stress. Although many with TMJ dysfunction may not experience pain, there are a number of other symptoms such as clicking, popping or grinding of the jaw, and the inability to fully open or close it. Sufferers can also experience headaches or dizziness, ear pain and upper neck pain.
If you are suffering from TMJ dysfunction, it could be very painful and you may be unable to eat, talk, or function as usual. This can be a very frustrating problem and if prolonged, could cause serious damage. Physiotherapists can give sufferers an understanding of TMJ dysfunction and the cause of their pain, and provide the most suitable therapy process. This way patients can get the best possible treatment solution tailored to their individual needs and situation, with honest expectations for recovery.
How Physiotherapy Works
A TMJ physiotherapist with advanced training in jaw dysfunction, such as those at Resolve Physiotherapy can competently assess your pain and problem with your TMJs. They examine factors including the range of jaw motion, tension and length of the surrounding muscles, and pattern of movement. This way they can quickly identity the issue to offer the most suited corrective treatment, or refer you to the most relevant health professional.
Your physiotherapist will create a personalised treatment plan for TMJ pain, to improve strength, flexibility, positioning and overall functioning of the TMJs. Exercises and treatments generally prescribed involve posture improvement, relaxation exercises, massaging, dry needling or joint mobilisation and stabilisation practices. Physiotherapy is ideal for TMJ pain as exercises can be assisted and treatment is gentle. Your physiotherapist will be able to provide special guidance to help patients achieve optimum recovery – most improve within a few weeks of commencing TMJ treatment.
At Resolve Physiotherapy our specialists are experts in injury management. We are committed to individualised treatment plans built around our patients’ needs and lifestyles, and offer a wide range of therapy solutions and support so that patients can heighten recovery outside of treatment sessions. If you’re suffering from TMJ pain, joint dysfunction or other sports injuries, we’d be happy to advise you. For more information please contact the Resolve Physiotherapy practice on 0121 293 0237 or visit our website.