What is the TMJ?
The temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint directly in front of the ear canal on either side of the head that connects your jawbone (mandible) to your skull (temporal bone). The TMJ, which opens 2,000 – 3,000 times per day, is the most frequently used joint in the body! It is used for talking, chewing, swallowing, and yawning. This joint is complex and is composed of muscles, tendons, bones and a disc sitting between the bones of the skull and the mandible.
What are the symptoms of TMJ dysfunction?
Some symptoms of TMJ dysfunction (TMD) include:
- Difficulty chewing hard or chewy foods
- Tension or fatigue in your jaw muscles
- Locked jaw
- Facial pain
- Ear fullness, pain, or pressure
- Tinnitus/ringing in the ears
Did you know the upper neck plays a role in how the jaw functions and is often involved in ongoing symptoms? Many of our jaw patients complain of neck pain, stiffness and headaches.
What are the causes?
Some of the common causes of TMJ pain and joint dysfunction include:
- Grinding and/or clenching of teeth
- Poor habits like gum chewing, cheek biting, and fingernail biting
- Dental problems and poor alignment of teeth
- Trauma such as a motor vehicle collision or sports injury
- Arthritis and aging of the joint
What can you expect during a TMJ assessment?
VOR’s specially trained therapists complete a thorough assessment of the upper neck and jaw to provide treatment for your TMJ concerns. Rehabilitation may include one or more of the following therapies:
- Education about how pain, stress and various oral habits may negatively affect the TMJ
- Manual therapy to improve mobility of the TMJ and neck
- Massage therapy to reduce muscle tension
- Modalities to reduce joint inflammation – including MPS, acupuncture, and ultrasound
- TMJ exercises to help with stability, strength and mobility to help restore normal movement patterns
- Postural exercises to restore balance between the jaw and neck
Why choose VOR for your TMJ concerns?
Our team of Physiotherapists have attended many postgraduate courses in the assessment and treatment of TMJ concerns. We have studied under world-renowned leaders in the management of TMJ and cranio-facial pain.
At VOR we often work closely and get referrals from dentists, ENTs, and endodontists in the management of TMJ patients.