The Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ) is a complex joint of the Temporal and Mandible bones with a disc in between. The disc allows the joint to move in two different ways: hinge and slide. This allows the jaw to move up and down, backwards and forwards and side to side, all important movements when talking and chewing. There are ligaments which attach the disc to the bones and muscles which move the joint.
Temperomandibular Disorders is a collective term for problems that affect the joint and musculoskeletal structures (e.g. ligaments, muscles, tendons and connective tissue) and the surrounding area. You may see it written as TMJD or TMD. Problems can be due to:
- Disc displacement
- Muscle spasm, weakness or tightness.
- Pain or tenderness from the joint or surrounding structures
- Sensations such as numbness or pins and needles
- Joint clicking or grinding
- Headaches or earache
- Reduced jaw movement or locking
- Bruxism (grinding of the teeth)
Physiotherapy helps restore function and manage pain through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice. Physiotherapy is a science-based profession and takes a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. Integral to this is involving the person in their own care from expectations, goal setting and empowerment.
Temporomandibular disorders and Physiotherapy
On your first visit, a detailed assessment will take place to clarify issues and establish goals. From this, best-practice treatments are done. This may include joint and soft tissue manual techniques, education, advice and specific exercises to stretch or strengthen the muscles.
The frequency of Physiotherapy will be dependent on the presentation, your goals and best practice; appointments will include treatment and you will be given exercises and advice to complete at home.
The physiotherapy treatment will be done in conjunction with your dentist or doctor as required.