Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a pain in the jaw joint. The TMJ can be found just in front of your ear when you open and close your mouth.
There are a variety of reasons why jaw pain occurs and numerous symptoms – for example, you may be getting headaches because you clench your teeth, but you may not necessarily feel pain directly in your jaw.
Many people are misdiagnosed – their symptoms are often put down to headaches, ear infections, problems with their teeth or even their back.
I’ve been providing effective TMJ treatment to clients for the past 15 years. The assessment and diagnosis from a whole-body approach is so important. I commonly see TMJ pain arising due to poor posture and stress. Accurate assessment to determine the underlying cause of the pain can then provide the opportunity for a faster solution.
Here are some common causes and symptoms of TMJ syndrome.
TMJ can be caused by a number of factors including:
- Trauma to the jaw, e.g. whiplash or a heavy blow
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
- Poor posture
- Stiff neck (cervical spine injuries)
- Emotional stress factors
- Muscle imbalances
- Weakness of the stabilising muscles of the neck
- Habits such as biting nails and chewing gum
It is more common than you think – 70% of the population suffer from TMJ some point in their life and it is four times more common in women.
Common symptoms of TMJ pain include:
- Pain in the jaw, which worsens with chewing, yawning or opening the mouth wide
- Global or specific pain to the eye, ear, teeth, sinus, scalp, neck or forehead
- Clicking or popping of the jaw when opening or closing the mouth
- Grinding of the jaw (often while asleep)
- Locking or stiffness of the jaw
- Feeling as though teeth are not aligned
Some simple steps you can take to provide relief at home include eating soft food, stop chewing gum, avoid clicking your jaw, reduce stress, avoid sleeping on your stomach. If the pain persists, it would be wise to seek expert Physiotherapy treatment.
Treatment at Wisdom Physiotherapy includes a variety of options including mobilisation, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, dry needling, clinical pilates, postural retraining, muscle energy techniques, exercise programs, and education.
Don’t delay in seeking treatment, treatment can be quick and cost-effective. Get back to living the life you want and deserve, free from pain!