TMD / TMJ
Are you having difficulty chewing or yawning? Do you have jaw pain? Do you hear a clicking noise when you open and close your mouth? If so, these may all be symptoms of TMJ dysfunction. Some other common symptoms include tooth pain (and your dentist confirms that your teeth are OK), ear pain (and your ENT sees no problems), neck pain and headaches – temporal headaches in particular.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, TMD, also known as TMJ dysfunction, is a condition that causes pain and stiffness of the jaw and its surrounding muscles. This can make it very difficult to open your mouth, talk, yawn, and eat.
The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw bone (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull. In between the bones is padding of cartilage, called a disc. The movements of the jaw are controlled by several muscles that either help in closing your mouth or open it. If there are problems or injuries to the TM joint, discs or associated musculature, TMD/TMJ dysfunction may develop. This can range from simple as trigger points in the jaw musculature, causing pain but no restriction of movements; to severe muscle spasms called trismus that will make it impossible to open your mouth. You could also have more complicated issues such as a displaced disc, which can either be mobile or “locked” out of place. You may feel pain on one or both sides of the jaw and headaches and neck pain can develop as well. Clicking and popping in the joints is very common.
If you are suffering from TMJ dysfunction, or you think you might be, contact Grelot Physical Therapy today to schedule an appointment and find relief.
How is TMJ dysfunction diagnosed?
Symptoms of TMD/TMJ include pain in the jaw, jaw popping, headaches, sore jaw muscles, locking of the jaw, pain in the temple, and earaches. There are many reasons why TMJ dysfunction may develop, but some common causes include bruxing (clenching, grinding and faulty movements), disc displacement, misalignment of the teeth, gum chewing, arthritis or injuries such as car accidents.
Your dentist will look at your teeth and your bite, and rule out any problems with them. An ENT specialist would check out any potential problems with your ears. Your medical doctor makes sure your neck is not referring pain to the jaw and you don’t have other medical issues potentially causing your symptoms. You might get X-rays or other diagnostic tests to affirm or rule out any suspicion of other problems.
We will look at your function: How is your posture? What habits might you have that could cause pain in the jaw? How do you move your jaw, neck, and shoulders? What is the state of your muscles? How is the mobility of the TM joints?
Once your functional diagnosis has been determined, we will offer you a treatment plan based on the nature of your symptoms.
How is TMJ dysfunction treated?
Some people respond well to over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications. Applying ice packs or heat directly to the jaw joint can also help relieve pain. You may also find temporary relief through sedative essential oils, such as clary sage or lavender. When home remedies don’t work, medical intervention may be necessary. Muscle relaxers or stronger anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to manage pain. Your dentist may provide you with a dental splint to alter your jaw alignment and prevent tooth grinding.
However, physical therapy is perhaps one of the most effective treatments for TMD/TMJ dysfunction. After a comprehensive evaluation, our dedicated Mobile physical therapists will create a treatment plan based on the nature of your symptoms and your specific needs.
The goal of physical therapy is to restore your normal function and improve the interaction of the jaw muscles and joints. We aim to find out how your habits and movements are causing your pain and the ultimate goal is to train you to avoid putting extra strain on the TM system. Besides a detailed education, encouragement, and support, your treatment plan may consist of any combination of modalities and manual therapy along with exercises to address your posture and jaw mechanics. These will be explained to you in details in your initial visit.
Contact Grelot Physical Therapy for relief:
If you are suffering from TMJ dysfunction, or you think you might be, contact our Mobile physical therapy practice today. Our physical therapists are patient-centric and committed to your health, working hard to help you manage and eliminate symptoms. Don’t suffer from jaw pain and stiffness any longer – contact Grelot Physical Therapy today.