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What is TMJ dysfunction?

What is TMJ dysfunction?


Firstly, what is your TMJ? It stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the jaw joint, located close to the ear. These joints attach the jawbone to the skull and acts like a sliding hinge joint. For example, TMJ dysfunction is an umbrella term that encompasses pain of the muscle of mastication (muscles that move the jaw) and the temporomandibular joint itself.

In other words, temporomandibular joint dysfunction can cause pain in your jaw and the muscles that control jaw movement. However, the exact cause of it is often multifactorial and difficult to pin point. Above all, your pain may be caused by a combination of factors such as genetics, a previous jaw injury, arthritis. People who clench or grind their teeth may also develop jaw pain.

Signs and symptoms of TMJ dysfunction:

  • Pain in one or both temporomandibular joints
  • Pain or tenderness of the jaw
  • An ache or pain in your ear or face
  • Headaches or neck pain
  • Pain or difficulty chewing
  • Locking of the joint or difficulty opening and closing your mouth
  • Grinding, clicking or popping noises from the temporomandibular joint

Treatment from a trained physiotherapist may include: posture re-education; joint mobilisation; muscle lengthening; relaxation exercises; soft tissue massage; TMJ movement pattern correction and; passive, active and stabilisation exercises.

It is advisable to seek treatment if you have persistent pain in your jaw or have difficulty opening or closing your mouth. Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic we have trained Physiotherapists to help ease your symptoms and increase movement of the jaw, if you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ dysfunction. Contact the clinic today to book your appointment.

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