Treatment of jaw problems (temporo-mandibular joint)

Do you ever stayed jaw blocked by eating a big fat burger? Do you hear joint noises when eating? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are among the 20% of people in North America who have jaw problems. Also known as “temporomandibular joint (TMJ),” it’s one of the jaw joints most often used. In fact, every time you speak, eat, yawn, tighten teeth, TMJ is turned on. Being a joint as well as other joints of the human body, the TMJ can be treated in physiotherapy.

The most common symptoms with jaw problems are:

Several factors can influence the development of TMJ such as:

It can also be a specific triggering event such as:

Finally, the cervical region is also considered as a possible source, referring pain in the territory of the temples and the temporo-mandibular region. Indeed, several pain and TMJ problems can be directly related to the cervical region, either by poor posture, decreased mobility or simply referred pain.

A physiotherapy assessment can help you decrease or adjust your various problems. A physiotherapist will assess this effect mobility, strength, muscle strains, ligaments and cervical region. The main aim of physiotherapy is to find the source of pain and normalize mobility and muscle tone surrounding the jaw and cervical region.

Treatment modalities used for TMJ are substantially the same as those for any other joint. Techniques of manual therapy and muscle relaxation can be done to optimize mobility and muscle tone. Mobility exercises and strengthening will be given to normalize the movement. Finally advice on an ideal posture and changes in lifestyle to overuse the jaw will be taught.

For more details, please consult our specialist Simon Bisson-Petit