Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction Management

The jaw is one of the smallest joints in the body but can be one of the most debilitating because it is used frequently throughout the day to talk, chew or yawn. People with jaw issues may describe pain specific to the jaw area, however others may be experiencing other symptoms, such as headaches, neck pain and fullness in the ear.

The TMJ is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull and allows the mouth to open and close.  

What causes TMJ Dysfunction?

One of the major causes of TMJ dysfunction is bruxism, a repetitive clenching or grinding of the teeth. This typically happens at night while sleeping, so people may not always be aware of it until their dentist notices early wearing on the teeth or a spouse hears the grinding sound.

 

Another potential cause of TMJ dysfunction includes activities where the mouth is forcefully closed in a misaligned position such as excessive gum chewing and nail biting.

The pain and tenderness of TMJ dysfunction can be caused by the disc in the joint moving out of place and causing pressure on sensitive structures around the joint.

Other Causes of TMJ Dysfunction:

  • Degenerative joint disease (arthritis)

  • Structural mouth and tooth issues

  • Poor posture, leading to strains or overuse of muscles in the face and neck

  • Inability to relax, poor diet or lack of restful sleep

  • Fractures

  • Alignment or structure problems present since birth

  • Injuries to the face, head or neck including concussions, facial blows or motor vehicle accidents

Do you experience any of these symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction?

  • ​Frequent headaches

  • Lock jaw

  • Painful, tight or tender jaw muscles

  • Back, neck or shoulder pain

  • Chronic ear aches or ear fullness

  • Facial pain

  • Clicking or popping jaw joint sound

  • Reduced ability to fully open or close the jaw

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ) Management at LV Physiotherapy

At LV Physiotherapy, you will work directly with a Registered Physiotherapist, trained through post-graduate courses in the Assessment & Treatment of TMJ Dysfunction.

Your Physiotherapist will assess:

  • Subjective symptoms of pain, clicking or popping

  • Jaw and neck range of motion​

  • Alignment issues

  • Muscle imbalances and tightness

  • Joint related problems

Following your assessment, your Physiotherapist will put together a specific, individualized treatment program. You will continue to see your Physiotherapist to monitor and progress your program, and to provide you with the hands-on therapy you may require.

TMJ Management May Include:

  • Manual therapy techniques for the TMJ and surrounding areas

  • Soft tissue release techniques

  • Exercises including stretching and strengthening for the jaw, head and neck

  • Postural correction, relaxation and breathing exercises

  • Home exercise program

  • Patient education

  • Acupuncture

  • Pain modalities

To book an appointment with a Physiotherapist trained in the assessment and treatment of TMJ dysfunction please call LV Physiotherapy at (905) 682-5119 and request an appointment for TMJ or Jaw pain.