Temporomandibular joint disorder, or dysfunction, (TMD) is a common condition that limits the natural functions of the jaw, such as opening the mouth and chewing. It is sometimes incorrectly referred to as simply “TMJ,” which represents the name of the joint itself. TMD affects more women than men and is most often diagnosed in individuals aged 20 to 40 years. Its causes range from poor posture, chronic jaw clenching, and poor teeth alignment, to fracture or conditions such as lockjaw, where the muscles around the jaw spasm and reduce the opening of the mouth. Physiotherapist at Alton Pain Clinic, Alton Hampshire help with TMD by easing pain, regain normal jaw movement, and lessen daily stress on the jaw.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a common condition that limits the natural function of the jaw, such as opening the mouth and chewing, and can cause pain. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge joint that connects your jaw to your skull in front of your ear. The TMJ guides jaw movement and allows you to open and close your mouth and move it from side to side to talk, yawn, or chew. TMD can be caused by:
The symptoms of TMD can be temporary or last for years. Jaw pain is the most common symptom. TMD can cause the jaw to lock or get stuck in a certain position. You may experience headaches, feel pain when chewing certain foods, or have difficulty fully opening your mouth.
TMD symptoms include:
Jaw pain also can be a symptom of heart attack. Seek medical care immediately if jaw pain is accompanied by:
To identify the cause of your symptoms, your physiotherapist at Alton Pain Clinic, Alton Hampshire may:
Your physiotherapist will evaluate your posture and observe how your cervical spine—the upper portion of your spine, situated in your neck—moves. Your physiotherapist will examine your TMJ to find out how well it functions and whether there are any abnormalities in your jaw motion.
If, after the examination, your physiotherapist suspects that your pain is a result of the position ("alignment") of your teeth, the therapist will advise you to consult your dentist for further examination.
Your physiotherapists at Alton Pain Clinic, Alton Hampshire can help you restore the natural movement of your jaw and decrease your pain. Based on your condition, your therapist will select treatments that will work best for you. Your treatments may include:
If you sit with your head in an increased forward position, you are placing greater strain on the muscles beneath your chin, causing the lower jaw to pull back and the mouth to be in an open position even when resting, increasing stress on the TMJ. You also might be overworking the jaw muscles to force the jaw closed so your mouth isn't open all the time. Your physiotherapist will teach you to be aware of your posture so that you can improve the resting position of your jaw, head, neck, breastbone, and shoulder blades when you're sitting and walking.
Physiotherapists at Alton Pain Clinic, Alton Hampshire use skilled hands-on techniques (manual therapy) to gently increase movement and relieve pain in tissues and joints. Your physiotherapist may use manual therapy to stretch the jaw in order to restore normal joint and muscle flexibility or break up scar tissues ("adhesions") that sometimes develop when there is constant injury.
Your physiotherapist will teach you special "low-load" exercises that don't exert a lot of pressure on your TMJ, but can strengthen the muscles of the jaw and restore a more natural, pain-free motion.
If your pain is severe, your physiotherapist may provide treatments, such as electrical stimulation or ultrasound to reduce it.