- Jaw popping
- Locking of the jaw
- Pain in the jaw
- Pain in the temple and earache
- Sore jaw muscle
- Difficulty chewing or yawning
- Clicking noise when you open and shut your mouth
The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull. If there is an injury to this joint or it becomes damaged, it can cause TMJ syndrome. TMJ can also be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, gum chewing, arthritis, teeth grinding or jaw injury. It’s important to realize that the temporomandibular joint is a complex and important structure comprised of bones, tendons and muscles, and you may have pain on one or both sides of the jaw.
Physical therapy is effective in the treatment of TMJ. A physical therapist will analyze your jaw mobility and release muscle tension in the neck and head area. A comprehensive evaluation is done of the neck, shoulder girdle, and thoracic spine to determine if those structures are causing your symptoms. The goal of physical therapy is to restore the interaction of the muscles and joints and to restore normal function. Treatment may consist of different modalities. Active modalities include soft tissue massage, joint mobilization, myofascial techniques and jaw exercises. Electric stimulation and ultrasound may be used to decrease muscle tension and provide pain relief. In addition, a physical therapist can educate you on dietary changes that will decrease stress on the jaw joint.
Be sure to make a request to schedule a one-on-one consultation and a complete, thorough evaluation. Our physical therapists have helped many who suffer from TMJ disorder and can help you too.
For more information, contact us at our martha’s vineyard office.