What is TMJ?

The Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) or jaw is a complex mechanical joint system which allows us to chew, speak, yawn and perform many other daily functions. Most people don’t realise that the jaw is intimately related with the neck, inner ear, teeth and base of the skull and works with these other structures to create normal movement patterns. This intimate relationship is both neurological and mechanical. It is neurological in the sense that the same part of the nervous system mediates neural activity across the structures mentioned above ( the trigemino-cervical nucleus) and mechanical in that the jaw is attached with ligaments onto the skull, and the skull sits on the top cervical vertebrae.

Symptoms of TMJ

Common complaints we hear from TMJ patients are jaw pain, clicking, difficulty opening the mouth and painful chewing.

Research has shown that TMJ pain and dysfunction is common in clients who also have neck pain, thoracic pain, low back pain, headaches, fibromyalgia or who have been involved in whiplash injuries in the past.

We believe the neurological and mechanical relationships discussed above are associated with the mechanisms by which people can feel TMJ pain.

Jaw Physiotherapy Newtown

At Active Physiotherapy Newtown, we have experienced TMJ physiotherapists who can assess and treat the TMJ along with any other mechanical structures that may be involved. Our physiotherapists are trained to perform specialised release techniques and provide you with individual exercises to achieve normal TMJ motion and reduce pain.

Our physiotherapists will take your history, assess your jaw moving, assess the rest of your body relative to your jaw and explain their findings to you. They will then explain the treatment plan to you and get your jaw moving better and feeling better as soon as possible.

How to Treat Jaw Pain

Find out more about TMJ and Jaw Pain from our blog post which gives you tips on how to deal with jaw pain. Featuring exercises from practicing physiotherapist Dr. John Panagopoulos.

References:

1. Yair Sharav et al. Orofacial Pain and Headaches. Elsevier Publication, 2008.

2. Garcia R, Arrington JA. The relationship between cervical whiplash and temporomandibular joint injuries: an MRI study. Journal of craniomandibular Practice 1996;14: 233-239.

3. Heise AP, Laskin DM, Gervin AS. Incidence of temporomandibular joint symptoms following whiplash injury. Journal of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery 1992; 50: 825 -828.