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Jaw Pain

What is Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD)?

TMJ dysfunction is an intermittent or chronic musculoskeletal disorder of your jaw motion. In particular, TMD is the abnormal motion of your TMJ – temporomandibular joint. TMJ disorder most commonly results in orofacial or jaw pain, jaw headache or a clicking jaw. If your jaw clicks, locks open or closed, grates (crepitus) or is painful you almost certainly have a TMJ disorder.

Common Sources of TMJ Dysfunction or Jaw Pain

TMJ or jaw pain can occur as a result of various multi-factorial reasons. Having said that, most TMJ dysfunction resulting in jaw pain or clicking jaw results from two main causes: jaw opening or closing.

TMJ Dysfunction – Abnormal Opening

Most TMJ dysfunction that occurs results in an inability to open your jaw normally, fully and evenly (left vs right). Luckily nearly all opening dysfunctions respond extremely quickly and favourably to physiotherapy assessment and intervention since teeth occlusion is not an issue.

TMJ Dysfunction – Abnormal Closing

Closing dysfunction can be due to both a teeth occlusion and an inability of the TMJ to close normally. If the problem is simply a stiff joint or poor muscle timing then physiotherapy treatment will be very successful. However, if teeth occlusion issues are discovered, then you will be referred to a dental surgeon for a bite occlusion assessment.

TMJ Treatment Options

Health professionals who can assist your TMJ dysfunction or jaw pain include your Dentist, Orthodontist, Dental Prosthetist, Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon, and Physiotherapist.

TMJ Physiotherapy

  • TMJ physiotherapists have special training in TMJ motion and its correction.
  • Review your TMJ motion:
  • Increase jaw mobility where stiffness exists.
  • Relax hypertonic muscles.
  • Dynamically control excessive motion where hypermobility exists.
  • Normalise TMJ motion via specific exercises where abnormal movement patterns exist.
  • Analyse and correct the influence of your neck posture and motion on your TMJ function.
  • Period: weeks to months.

What TMJ Treatment Results can you Expect?

The good news is that your physiotherapist will start treating your TMJ dysfunction, muscle tightness or coordination. Alternatively, if we assess you and discover that your TMJ dysfunction will not respond to physiotherapy, we’ll happily refer you to the most appropriate health professional to assist you in achieving the quickest result.