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TMJ Pain Treatment in Toronto

TMJ (Jaw) Pain Treatment in Toronto

TMJ painThe Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone that lies in front of the ears on either side. This hinged joint, along with surrounding muscles and tendons, controls the movement of the jaw to be able to talk, eat, chew, yawn, and more.

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What is TMD? Is it different from TMJ?

When the movement of Temboromandibular joint (TMJ) is affected and is causing locking or pain, the condition is referred to as Temboromandibular joint Dysfunction or TMD. Commonly, this dysfunction is referred to as TMJ which is incorrect as TMJ is the actual joint.

TMJ pain & dysfunction commonly happens after dental procedures and motor vehicle accidents (MVA). Muscle disorders, injuries to head and neck such as whiplash or falls can cause TMD. Arthritis and other derangements that can cause dislocation of the disc also result in TMD or TMJ pain.

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What are the most common TMD symptoms?

The most common symptom associated with TMJ dysfunction (TMD) is a pain in your jaw when you eat or face or around your ear. This pain can be mild or severe and can develop gradually or be sudden. Sudden severe pain is usually associated with joint locking.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Clicking, popping or grinding sound when you eat
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Constant headache especially if the cause of TMD is a whiplash injury
  • Jaw locking, difficulty opening and closing your mouth
  • Toothaches, earaches, swelling of the face
  • Dizziness associated with headache
  • Ringing in ears (tinnitus)

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How is TMJ disorder diagnosed?

A dentist or your doctor or physiotherapist will ask questions to find out the possible causes for your pain condition and a description of symptoms that you are experiencing. A physical exam will then be performed to assess the muscular tension, the range of motion and if there are abnormal sounds when you open and close your mouth. Your dentist, doctor, or TMJ specialist may order an x-ray or MRI if they believe the issue may be related to the bones or discs of the joint.

What is the best treatment for TMD?

The best treatment for TMJ pain or TMD is a treatment plan to address the root cause of your pain and is tailored to your situation. This should include:

  • Jaw, head, and neck exercises to improve mobility, flexibility and strength
  • Manual therapy including stretching the soft tissue and mobilizing joints
  • Breathing exercises, relaxation, meditation
  • Posture correction
  • Massage therapy for facial and jaw muscles and to release the tension of neck muscles
  • Heat/ice therapy
  • Physiotherapy

A consultation with your dentist is necessary as you may need to be fitted with a mouth guard to help prevent grinding your teeth at night. In some cases, a referral to a TMJ specialist may be necessary. This referral may be initiated by your dentist or medical doctor.

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Does physiotherapy help jaw (TMJ) pain?

The cause of TMJ Dysfunction (TMD) is often not clear; however, there are a few factors that combine to increase the risk of an individual for developing the condition. These include:

  • Arthritis
  • Jaw injury either a direct impact or sprains & strains related to a whiplash injury
  • Bruxism – Repetitive clenching or grinding of the teeth
  • Connective tissue diseases

While TMJ dysfunction is considered to be a dental tissue, physiotherapy is known to be beneficial in the management of the condition. Some of the techniques that physiotherapists use to improve the symptoms of TMJ dysfunction include :

  • Manual therapy to mobilize the joint
  • Soft tissue treatment, trigger point therapy
  • Dry needling and acupuncture to manage pain and inflammation
  • Laser therapy or ultrasound therapy to manage pain and inflammation
  • strengthening exercises for jaw and neck muscles
  • When surgery is required, physiotherapy can help with recovery

At Physiomobility we have a team of qualified and experienced physiotherapists who treat TMD and TMJ pain. We will work closely with your dentist or TMJ specialist to ensure your jaw pain is managed well and you learn how to maintain your mobility.

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What can I do for my TMJ pain?

A successful treatment plan for jaw pain requires your own involvement. Follow your exercises and treatment plan prescribed by your physiotherapist, wear your mouthguard as instructed by your dentist and apply simple methods to ease jaw pain and speed up your recovery:

  • Sleeping on your back may help with pain
  • Avoid or minimize eating food that ate hard to chew
  • Do not chew gum. If you need to freshen up your breath, use fresh mints or breath strips
  • Remember to breathe through your nose
  • Cut up fruit, vegetable or your meat to smaller pieces so you do not have to open your mouth wide
  • Apply a warm compress over your jaw for 10 minutes

 

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