What is TMJ Disorder?

Ever hear a friend or family member complain to you about their TMJ disorder? Ever ask them what it means and find that they don’t really know much except it’s painful or uncomfortable. Well we are hear to clear the air!

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) serves as a hinge joint for the lower jaw and the upper jaw.

Every time we chew and swallow food, the TMJ works to open and close the mouth. It is the most frequently used joint in our body! Any disruption or damage to the TMJ and surrounding jaw musculature, as well as weak neck muscles and posture, contribute to the TMJ dysfunction.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Tenderness in jaw muscles
  • Clicking, popping, grinding in jaw
  • Inability to open and close mouth freely, known as jaw locking episodes
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • Dull aching pain in face, sinus, ears, eyes, teeth, neck and shoulder
  • Frequent headaches

Causes of TMJ Dysfunction:

Joint over use:

  • Frequent clenching and grinding of teeth
  • Gum chewing
  • Favoring one side of mouth when chewing

Improper bite:

  • Teeth are not aligned properly, causing an uneven bite at rest and with joint movement

Stress:

  • Results in teeth grinding

Trauma:

  • A direct blow to the jaw, scull and/or cervical spine (neck)

Treatment:

After a complete postural and spinal evaluation by our TMJ experienced Physical Therapist, techniques like Manual Therapy, Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Therapy, Manipulation and/or Laser Therapy will be utilized in order help you in resolve your TMJ dysfunction.