Pain can arise from the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ or Jaw joint). The TMJ is the joint which allows movement between the jaw and the head.
It can be irritated by many problems. Pain can be caused by eating food which is tough and difficult to chew. It may be triggered by stress, neck pain, poor posture, whiplash injuries or a direct blow to the jaw. Pain may be located over the cheek region, into the head and into the neck. Other symptoms may include clicking, locking of the jaw, headaches, grinding of the teeth, pain in the ear, tongue or eye or ringing in the ears.
An examination is performed to determine the site of the symptoms and to correct the movement patterns. We look at the patient’s posture, the joint movement in the jaw, neck and upper back, the strength and flexibility of the muscles of the region. The jaw depends on good posture from the neck and upper back. Stress can be relieved in the region with improvement of sitting or standing posture.
The assessment of the TMJ involves the measuring of the ability of the mouth to move. We observe the relationship between the jaw, the neck and the upper back. These three areas interact with each other and can trigger pain in each of these regions.
It has been shown that functional postures influence this region. This means that the way you position your upper back as you move, sit, stand, drive etc impacts on the health of your neck and jaw. Treatment involves identifying problems with your posture whilst giving advice and feedback to improve this.
TMJ pain is assisted with a comprehensive treatment routine. This involves soft tissue massage, joint stretches, muscle stretches for the jaw, neck and upper back. An exercise routine is prescribed which targets the weak muscles and shortened muscles.
TM J pain is debilitating and can make it difficult to eat and function normally. The aim of treatment is to reduce pain and improve function in the region. Treatment is pain free and makes a significant difference to the way you move and feel.
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