The Temporomandibular joint or TMJ is the joint between the mandible (jaw bone) and the skull. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) refers to a group of painful conditions that affect the TMJ and the muscles that control jaw movement. TMD is common, effecting up to 12% of the population and effects women twice as often as men. It is most prevalent between the ages of 20-40 years.
Symptoms of TMD
- Painful trigger points in the muscles around the jaw and temple.
- Pain and clicking of the jaw on opening and closing.
- Difficulty chewing, eating, and moving the jaw.
- In extreme cases, locking of the jaw may be present.
- Sufferers often complain of concurrent headache and neck pain.
- The most common contributor to TMD is stress related nocturnal clenching or grinding of teeth.
- The condition often presents after periods of extended mouth opening during dental work.
- Onset can follow from a direct blow or trauma to the area.
- Forward head posture is common in TMD sufferers.
- Poor tooth alignment may play a role but evidence for this is much less clear.
Treatment of the TMJ usually involves massage, stretching, joint mobilisation and acupuncture to decrease pain and improve joint mechanics. You will be given a home program of exercises and self-management strategies for your pain as well as advice on ways to decrease clenching and grinding where appropriate.
Stop putting up with pain and dysfunction from TMD, book an appointment today with one of our experienced physios today to get a plan to decrease your pain, increase your function and get you back In Balance!