Woman holds had to mouth because of pain in jaw

Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts like a hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. This joint is involved in our everyday lives, for example, eating, talking, and breathing. When there is an injury or repeated stress applied to this joint, however, pain can occur. This is a temporomandibular joint dysfunction(TMD).

What Causes Jaw Pain?

The exact cause of a person’s TMD is often difficult to determine. However, your pain may be due to a result of many problems, such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Bad posture
  • Injury to the jaw and surrounding muscles
  • Jaw clenching or teeth grinding
What Are The Signs And Symptoms?
Some symptoms that occur from TMJ for example are:
  • Pain in your jaw, neck, shoulders, or around your ear
  • Limited ability to open your mouth wide
  • Pain while chewing
  • Headache
  • Locking of the jaw joint
  • Clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth
  • Swelling on the side of your face

How Can Physiotherapy Help?

In other words, the focus of physiotherapy for TMD is relaxation, stretching, and releasing tight muscles. A treatment plan will also include instruction on exercises and stretches for regaining normal jaw function. A variety of therapeutic techniques will be used such as:

  • Manual therapy techniques to improve jaw movement
  • Electrical stimulation and/or laser to reduce pain and discomfort
  • Heat and Ice therapy for improved circulation and reduction of swelling
  • Postural correction and strengthening
  • Passive, active-assisted, active exercises

When should I see a doctor?

To clarify you should seek medical attention if you have persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw. More importantly, if you have difficulty opening and closing your mouth.  Your physiotherapist can assist in discussing possible causes and treatment plans to address your problem.

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