What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge joint that also glides forward/backward as you open and close your mouth. You have a TMJ on either side of the jaw and is positioned just in front of your ear. There is a maneuverable disc inside the joint. The joint is surrounded by a capsular tissue and movement is controlled by several muscles.
What is TMD?
Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is an umbrella term that covers an array of issues to the TMJ. This can include arthritis, disc displacement, trigeminal neuralgia, muscular dysfunction or injury to the capsular and ligament tissue. These may produce pain, clicking, crepitus (grating noise) and may even cause the jaw to become locked open or closed.
Physiotherapy for TMD
A range of techniques can be used to reduce pain and improve function. This includes:
- Massage to the muscles of mastication (chewing muscles).
- Muscular exercises to coordinate smooth joint motion.
- Ligament and capsular stretching to loosen the hinge and glide motion of the joint. This will also assist with disc displacement pathologies and to restore functional opening / closing of the jaw.
- Behavioral techniques to avoid clenching.
Signs of an unhealthy TMJ
- Difficulty opening mouth wide
- Dietary changes to accommodate pain or movement limitations
- Broken or worn-down teeth
- History of jaw trauma / injury
- Poor bite
Early intervention prevents long term problems
If we determine your TMD is not treatable with specialised physiotherapy, we can assist you in finding the right person to help with your care in our extensive professional network of medical specialists.