Have you ever heard of or been diagnosed with TMD (temporomandibular disorder)? If so, you know that it causes jaw pain that is sometimes severe and very much interferes with daily life. TMD can…
- Give you “trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite — as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly.”
- Affect both sides of your face, or just one.
- Cause the face to swell up.
- Not only cause pain in the jaw, but also in the muscles of the ears, neck, and shoulders.
- Cause dizziness, trouble hearing, ringing in the ears, and aching sensations in the teeth, neck, and head.
- Lock your jaw in one position (either open or closed).
- Cause a “clicking, popping, or grating sound in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew. This may or may not be painful.”
Do you recognize these symptoms in yourself? If so, you may have TMD. See a physician or physiotherapist as soon as possible for an evaluation.
What Causes TMD? How Is It Treated?
As is the case with many disorders, medical professionals aren’t always sure what causes TMD. What they do know is that “the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) combines a hinge action with sliding motions. The parts of the bones that interact in the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disk, which normally keeps the movement smooth. Painful TMJ disorders can occur if the disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment, the joint’s cartilage is damaged by arthritis, or the joint is damaged by a blow or other impact,” writes Mayo Clinic staff. Other causes of TMD include high levels of stress, bad posture, arthritis, and teeth grinding.
While the cause of TMD may be unclear, the condition is treatable. Treatments include medications, counseling, mouth guards, surgery, acupuncture, biofeedback, and physiotherapy. Physiotherapy in particular can be a great treatment option for those trying to control the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder.
Is Physiotherapy an Effective Treatment for TMD (Jaw Pain)?
Physiotherapy is used to treat an array of health problems, TMD included. Many TMD patients opt to try medications or invasive remedies like surgery first, and there is nothing wrong with this. However, physiotherapy is an effective, drug-free, non-invasive treatment for temporomandibular joint disorder, and many people see excellent results and a reduction of pain and other symptoms with it. Physiotherapist Kevin Brown wrote, “(Physiotherapists) are frequently involved in the management of TMD, often in collaboration with dental professionals. A wide variety of PT techniques including specific joint movement and manual therapy to the jaw and neck, postural exercises to increase strength around the shoulder blade region, soft tissue massage, electrotherapy, biofeedback, relaxation techniques, and flexibility exercises for the jaw and neck can be effective in the management of this disorder.”
If you have been diagnosed with TMD but have not yet spoken with a physiotherapist, make it a point to reach out to a physiotherapy clinic near you.