What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) guides jaw movement. Problems with the TMJ are known as temporomandibular joint disorder or dysfunction (TMD). TMD can be caused by:
- Bad posture habits.
- Chronic jaw clenching at night(“bruxism”).
- Fracture. In a traumatic accident involving the face or head, a fracture to the lower jaw may result, and even when the fracture is fully healed, TMJ stiffness and pain may remain.
- Surgery. Following surgery to the face and jaw, there may be a loss in mobility and function of the TMJ.
- Trismus (“lockjaw”). This condition—where jaw muscles spasm and the jaw cannot be fully opened—can be both a cause and a symptom of TMD.
What Are the Symptoms of TMD?
TMD symptoms include:
- Jaw pain
- Jaw fatigue
- Difficulty opening your mouth to eat or talk
- Ringing in your ears
- Popping sounds in your jaw
- Neck pain
- Locking jaw
How Can a Physical Therapist Help?
Your physical therapist can help restore the natural movement of your jaw and decrease your pain. Treatments used by physical therapists for TMD may include:
- Posture education.
- Manual Techniques (soft tissue and joint mobilization).
- Modalities (electrical stimulation, ultrasound, heat, ice).
Contact us for more information!