The temporomandibular joint, or the jaw joint as it’s commonly known, is the most used joint in the body. We use it for eating, breathing, speaking and even when laughing and smiling! Resultantly, when things can go wrong like they can with any joint in the body, it can have a huge impact on our daily lives.
Things that might indicate your TMJ is the culprit for your symptoms include:
· Jaw pain
· Difficulty opening your mouth widely
· Teeth grinding
· Eating difficulties/changes
· History of jaw injury
Common causes of TMD can include (but are not limited to) direct trauma to the face or jaw, increased stress, dental procedures such as removal of wisdom teeth or orthodontic work and teeth grinding. Teeth grinding/clenching, also known as bruxing, can commence as a result a problem with the TMJ as well. Over a period of years after a traumatic incident or dental work, the affected structures can tighten up, and the brain will attempt to relieve them by moving the jaw back and forth (teeth grinding/clenching).
If you happen to be suffering from any of the above symptoms, you could benefit from seeing one of our experts in the field of TMD. They will undertake a detailed assessment of how your joint is moving and specifically highlight and and treat the structures at fault. Treatment includes targeted, gentle mobilisation of the affected structures, massage, home exercises and education about your condition. Most importantly you will be given the tools to keep your recovery pushing forward outside of the Physio room.
Look after your TMJs, and you’ll never bite off more than you can chew again!