Jaw pain, jaw clicking and headaches are very common and annoying problems associated with Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ Disorder).
The temporomandibular (jaw) joints are two of the most frequently used joints in the body, but probably receive the least amount of attention. Without these joints, we would be severely hindered when talking, eating, yawning, kissing, or sucking.
- trauma, such as direct blow or motor vehicle accident
- poor dental alignment
- stress resulting in grinding and clenching of teeth at night
- changes in posture including head and neck, thoracic and lumbar spine
- pain or restriction on closing or opening of the mouth e.g. yawning, biting, chewing, swallowing, speaking, or shouting
- chewing unequally on right or left
- crepitus or clicking of jaw
- locking of jaw
- changes in symmetry of face
- hearing loss, ringing in the ears, blocking of the ears, earache, or dizziness
- dental issues
- sleep disturbance
Physiotherapy is an effective way to treat and manage jaw pain and the contributing factors. Treatment can include:
- joint mobilisation techniques
- specific strengthening and stretching exercises
- trigger point therapy
- posture correction techniques
- treatment of associated and contributing areas such as neck and shoulder
When jaw pain is a result of stress, teeth grinding and clenching, physiotherapy treatment in conjunction with a dentist is very successful. Dentists can make night guards to reduce grinding and clenching teeth which in turn reduces pressure through the TMJ and thus reduces jaw pain.