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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. The TMJ, which opens 2,000 – 3,000 times per day, is the most frequently used joint in the body. It is used for functions like talking, chewing, swallowing, or yawning. The temporomandibular joint is complex and is composed of muscles, tendons, bones and a disc sitting between the bones of the skull (temporal bone) and the jawbone (mandible).

What are the symptoms?

Some symptoms of TMJ problems include:

  • Pain over your jaw
  • Difficulty chewing hard or chewy foods
  • Tension or fatigue in your jaw muscles
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Ear fullness, pain, or pressure
  • Tinnitus/ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness

Did you know the upper neck is a very intricate part of the jaw complex as well and is often involved in ongoing symptoms? Many of our jaw patients complain of neck pain or stiffness.

What are the causes?

Some of the common causes of TMJ pain and joint dysfunction (TMD) 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 inflicted on a jaw such as a motor vehicle collision or sports injury
  • Stress
  • Arthritis and aging of the joint

What will my first visit to VOR for TMJ dysfunction involve?

VOR’s specially trained therapists complete a thorough assessment of the upper neck and jaw to provide treatment for TMD. Rehabilitation may include one or more of the following therapies:

  • Education about how pain, stress and various oral habits may adversely influence the TMJ
  • Specific manual therapy or massage treatments to improve mobility and reduce muscle tension
  • Modalities to reduce joint inflammation – including MPS, acupuncture, and ultrasound
  • Specific exercise focusing on achieving stability of the TMJ and restoring normal movement patterns
  • Gentle range of motion exercises for gaining mobility of the TMJ
  • Postural retraining to restore balance between the jaw and neck positions

Why choose VOR for your TMJ concerns?

Our team of Physiotherapists have attended many post-graduate 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.

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