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TMJ Pain: How Physiotherapy Can Help

Posted Jun 30th, 2023

TMJ Pain: How Physiotherapy Can Help

Have you ever experienced pain or discomfort in your jaw? If so, you may be familiar with TMJ pain. The joint connecting your jawbone and your skull can be impacted by temporomandibular joint disorder, which can cause pain and discomfort, a clicking or popping sensation when opening and closing your mouth and speaking and chewing difficulties. Our Stittsville physiotherapists explain how TMJ pain can be assessed, managed and treated. 

Common Symptoms of TMJ Pain

If you are suffering from TMJ disorder, you may experience a range of symptoms that can vary in severity depending on your specific circumstances. Common symptoms of TMJ pain include: 

  • Pain, discomfort or difficulty when opening your mouth wide, speaking or chewing 
  • Jaw pain or tenderness, or soreness in the neck, face or ear 
  • Hearing a popping or clicking sound when opening or closing your mouth 
  • A sensation of your jaw "locking" 
  • Vertigo or dizziness 
  • Ear pain or ringing in the ears 
  • Migraines or headaches 

Causes of TMJ Pain 

While the cause of TMJ dysfunction hasn't been specifically defined, this condition may may develop for a few reasons. Potential causes of TMJ pain may be related to: 

  • Stress
  • Poor posture
  • Disorders of connective tissues 
  • Injury or trauma to the jaw 
  • Arthritis in the jaw joint 
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth 

How Physiotherapy Can Help with TMJ Pain

Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment option for TMJ disorder.  Did you know that TMJ dysfunction is often influenced by poor posture or muscle tension? Our TMJ physiotherapists at Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre can develop a customized treatment plan to address your specific needs and symptoms. Some ways that physiotherapy can help with TMJ pain include:

1. Manual Therapy & Modalities

Manual therapy techniques such as tissue mobilization, myofascial release, or trigger point therapy can help relieve muscle tension and improve joint mobility in the jaw and neck. Your physiotherapist can apply pressure to specific areas of your jaw and neck to help release tension and improve joint mobility.  Modalities such as ultrasound, TENS, or acupuncture may also be considered depending on your presentation.

2.    Jaw Exercises

Your physiotherapist may provide you with exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles in your jaw, neck, and face. These exercises can help improve joint mobility, reduce pain, and prevent further TMJ issues. Examples of exercises include:

  • Jaw opening and closing rhythm & movement: Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth, then open your mouth wide, without a click/shift/pain, then slowly close your mouth. Repeat ten times
  • Chin tucks: Sit up straight and tuck your chin in towards your chest, hold for a few seconds, and then relax. Repeat ten times.

3.    Stretches for the jaw and neck

Your physiotherapist may also recommend stretches for the muscles in your jaw and neck. These stretches can help relieve tension and improve joint mobility. Examples of stretches include:

  • Neck rotation: Turn your head to one side and hold for a few seconds, then turn it back to the start.  Repeat for the other side. Repeat several times.
  • Head tilting: while seated and maintaining a straight spine, reach your right arm over towards your left ear and pull it towards your right shoulder. Hold for a few seconds before releasing. Repeat on other side
  • Shoulder blade squeezes: Sit tall, with your chin tucked, then pinch your shoulder blades together against your spine.  Hold for a few seconds.  Repeat ten times. 

4.    Education

Your physiotherapist can help you understand the causes of TMJ pain and provide you with strategies to manage it. They can also advise you on lifestyle modifications such as diet changes, stress reduction techniques, and posture correction to reduce TMJ pain.

Physiotherapy at Motion Works Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre

Have you been feeling the effects of TMJ pain? Our team of physiotherapists at Physiotherapy at Motion Works Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre can work with you to develop a customized treatment plan to address your specific needs and goals!

Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards pain relief!

Are you wondering how our Stittsville physiotherapists can help you manage TMJ pain?

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(613) 831-4054