TMJ Therapy On Bayview & Eglinton

TMJ is an acronym for the temporomandibular joint. These two joints are located in front of your ears and are where the muscles connect the jawbone to your skull. These muscles and joints are used for chewing, speaking and essentially provide for the range of motion for jaw movement.

A TMJ disorder is also referred to as TMD. When you feel pain in the TMJ joint, lower jaw or the muscles that affect jaw movement, you may be suffering from TMD.

Temporomandibular Joint.jpg

What are the symptoms of TMD?

If you experience any of the following, it may be an indication of a TMJ disorder: 

  • Jaw pain

  • Aching pain in facial muscles

  • Headaches

  • Consistent pain around your ears

  • Ringing in ears

  • Dizzy spells

  • Pain in your TMJ joints

  • The joint locks

  • Pain when you chew

  • Difficulty opening and closing your mouth

  • Clicking sound when you open and close your mouth

  • Toothaches

  • Facial swelling

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Does physiotherapy correct temporomandibular joint dysfunction?

The short answer is yes. Physiotherapy, in general, is an excellent way to improve mobility, increase strength and reduce pain from musculoskeletal conditions. Therefore, the treatment of TMD can be managed by your physiotherapist in a number of ways.

Reduces muscle spasms

In many cases, muscle spasms can prevent the recovery of TMD. Manual therapy provides one of the biggest benefits of seeing a physiotherapist because it’s able to target specific issues at the root cause of the problem. A physiotherapist can select any number of manual therapy techniques they feel will directly reduce muscles spasms. This promotes mobility and helps improve the alignment of your jaw.

Improves jaw mobility in the TMJ joint

If the underlying cause of the issue is an accident or trauma to the joint, there may be a great deal of stiffness. A physiotherapist can loosen the joint up and increase mobility with manual therapy. They will also provide you with a series of home care exercises and stretches that will increase and maintain the range of motion you’re working to achieve.

Strengthens weak muscles

There are many patients that suffer from hypermobile joints or have weak muscles that don’t have the ability to hold the correct alignment. In these situations, physiotherapists will provide a specific strengthening program to target weak muscles. Your program will include in-clinic TMJ therapy as well as a self-care program that you will be responsible for completing from home.

Pain reduction in the TMJ and facial muscles

The overall effect of improving mobility and strengthening weak muscles is reduced pain. As your jaw moves closer to proper alignment and stiff muscles and joints gain mobility, the associated pain is reduced significantly.

Corrects improper posture 

Whether it’s from a work situation or an unconscious habit that’s developed, your posture could be a big part of what is contributing to TMJ dysfunction. Your physiotherapist will reverse the effects of poor posture (such as forward head posture) by strengthening postural muscles and stretching muscles that have shortened. We make recommendations on how to set up your working environment to promote better habits as well as show you the positions to avoid no matter where you are.

What treatment options are available for TMJ therapy?

The best treatment options for TMJ therapy require you to be properly assessed by a doctor, dentist, or physiotherapist to get to the source of the problem. Not every patient will require the same TMJ therapy. Once the issue is diagnosed a custom-tailored treatment program can be developed to correct the root source of the underlying issue.

 

A physiotherapist could potentially prescribe and facilitate any of the following treatment options:

 

  • Manual physical therapy techniques

  • Laser treatment for pain and inflammation

  • Ultrasound

  • Trigger point therapy

  • Soft tissue manipulation

  • Posture training

  • Exercises and stretches to reinforce proper alignment & posture

 

Although it is never preferred, some patients may require surgery. In many cases, a TMJ specialist may be required to further assist you. A dentist is also recommended in situations where the patient is grinding their teeth.

What causes dysfunctions in the TMJ joint and muscles?

Although there is some debate over the exact cause of TMD there are a few widely shared views on what causes TMD that most dentists and doctors agree on.

Poor posture

One of the most common causes of jaw pain resulting from TMD is forward head posture. Although this stems from the upper neck muscles, they can put a strain on your facial muscles that control the jaw.

forward head posture.jpg

Accidents & physical trauma

When someone is injured in an accident it can cause stiffness in the joints and muscles. Whiplash is also believed to be directly responsible for TMD.

Arthritis

The pain you feel from arthritis is typically from swelling and tenderness in the joints. This can be the root cause of TMJ dysfunction.

Grinding your teeth

Many dentists believe this is a common root source because of the constantly overworked muscles from grinding one’s teeth. This can lead to stiffness which leads to more tension and a lack of mobility in the joint.

Get custom-tailored physical therapy for TMJ dysfunction

If you’re experiencing any of the TMD symptoms listed above, we can help. Call us today to book an appointment or have a free over-the-phone consultation. Don’t just learn to live with the pain, let us put you on the road to recovery and move towards eliminating TMD forever.


Images sources:

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/temporomandibular-disorders-tmd

https://www.physio-pedia.com/Forward_Head_Posture