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A Pain In My... Jaw

Suffering from pain or clicking in your jaw? Sore neck and grinding your teeth? Do you suffer from headaches or ringing ears? Say hi to your TMJ.

Did you know that your Temporo-mandibular Joint or TMJ is the most used joint in your body? It is the hinge-like joint that connects your upper and lower jaw bones. It may be causing issues that you may never have thought would stem from your jaw. When these issues occur, this is called Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD).

This joint is responsible for the side to side and forward and backward movement of your jaw. This complex joint that comprises of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones is what allows you to talk, yawn, yell at your kids, chew, spit and show emotions. Therefore, when there is an issue with your TMJ you can experience:

  • jaw pain

  • chewing difficulties

  • headaches

  • swelling on the side of your face

  • locked jaw

  • neck pain, and

  • grinding of your teeth

These symptoms are not “normal” and you certainly don’t have to live with them. TMD is common and can be treated. It helps to understand whether or not you are affected by TMJ issues by having an understanding on the common causes.

TMJ pain can arise from dental treatment including wisdom tooth removal and braces, a direct blow to the face, poor posture, excessive chewing of gum, anxious/stressful tendencies to clench (bruxism) and multiple other causes. Like every other joint in the body, the TMJ can be effectively treated with Physiotherapy to improve opening range of motion, reduce chewing difficulties, relieve headaches & reduce clicking/locking in the jaw.

Whilst there are ways you can temporarily relieve the aches and pains that your TMJ may cause, it is unlikely they will resolve the issue entirely. The best way to rid yourself of it completely is to go to the front line of defence. TMJ Physiotherapy involves internal & external muscle release work, joint mobilisations, neuromuscular control training, dry needling and much more.

Why dry needling? This treatment often scares people off! Let’s break it down. Dry needling is a form of treatment that targets trigger points which are essentially areas that have become knotted over time. Dry needling stimulates the tissue to reduce tension in that area and encourage normal movement. For jaw pain, where tension builds due to causes like stress and grinding of your teeth, this treatment will assist in mitigating this tightness and lack of mobility in the TMJ joint.

Every case of TMJ disfunction is different from the last and each is treated accordingly. At First Base, we want you to feel you best! Yell your loudest! Eat with ease! And live pain free.

Try these home remedies for TMJ pain:

  1. Try stick to a diet comprised of soft foods. By doing so your jaw can rest and recover more quickly.

  2. Complete the jaw exercises provided to you by your First Base physiotherapist.

  3. Avoid chewing gum

  4. Visit the dentist if you experience excessive grinding

  5. Sleep on your side using a pillow between your shoulder and your neck

  6. Do something to relax!

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