Do you suffer from jaw pain, grinding of your teeth, clicking of your jaw, ear pain, tooth pain or headaches?
These can all be signs of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder, also known as the temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD). This a disorder of the jaw muscles and nerves caused by either trauma (i.e. direct blow), poor posture (i.e. slouched sitting at desk/computer) or repetitive overuse from paraoral or nervous habits like chewing gum, tooth pick, finger nails, pen caps. The injured temporomandibular joint leads to pain with with eating or chewing foods, talking or even yawning. Symptoms can include, swelling, nerve symptoms, tooth pain, ear pain and headaches, and sometimes dislocation of the temporomandibular joint, causing crepitus, clicking or popping of jaw.
What causes TMJ syndrome?
Multiple factors contribute to the muscle tightness and dysfunction that characterize this condition. Most often, poor posture (i.e. forward head and rounded shoulders) and abnormal neck alignment changes the pull of the muscles that make your jaw move. This causes painful irritation of the TMJ. Other causes may include:
- Poor alignment of or trauma to the teeth or jaw
- Prolonged opening positions like being at the dentist
- Teeth grinding or bruxing while sleeping
- Poor postures at work, driving, computer, etc.
- Arthritis or other inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders
- Paraoral Habits – Excessive gum chewing
A lot can be done to help TMD, first starting with a thorough evaluation of your problem with our expert physical therapists or your dentist to identify the cause. Once the root cause of your problem has been discovered, a comprehensive plan can be developed to quickly relieve your pain and restore natural movement to your TMJ. Furthermore, our physical therapists will teach you techniques for pain management and exercises for regaining normal jaw movement for long lasting results.
The focus of physical therapy for TMD is relaxation, stretching, and releasing tight muscles and scar tissue. In most cases, physical therapy can resolve TMD and prevent the need for surgery. However, in some cases, you may need a re-positioning splint to wear at night. If surgery is absolutely necessary, physical therapy is a vital part of the recovery process, as it helps minimize scar tissue formation, muscle tightness and allows for a complete recovery.
Lets get started today. Call us to make an appointment to get you out of pain and back to living life again pain-free.