A Physiotherapist’s Guide to Jaw Pain

July 16, 2016 | By | Reply READ MORE...

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain or commonly known as jaw pain is a condition that limits the normal functions of the jaw such as opening the mouth, chewing, talking etc besides causing a lot of pain which affects these functions.

TMJ is a joint that is formed between your jaw bone and the skull.


It is a condition that is often overlooked and not many seek help from Physical therapists.

Physiotherapy can help people with TMJ disorders in easing the pain, regaining normal function & reducing the stresses on the jaw directly.

WHAT SYMPTOMS DO YOU EXPERIENCE?

  • Dull aching pain is one of the most common symptom you will experience. In acute cases the pain might be throbbing in nature.
  • Pain is usually felt in the jaw but can radiate to other areas like the face, neck, ears & teeth
  • One might experience difficulty in eating (especially hard food)
  • Difficulty in opening your mouth
  • Locking sensations
  • Clicking or popping sounds from your jaw
  • Headaches
  • Occasionally patients complain of dizziness and upper neck pain.

WHAT CAUSES TMJ PROBLEMS?

Many believe there are multiple causes that can result in Jaw Pain. Some of them are enlisted below:

  • Jaw clenching or teeth grinding due to stress or anxiety can cause significant stress on the surrounding muscles resulting in pain
  • Arthritis due to constant wear and tear
  • Dental problems like misaligned teeth resulting in an uneven bite
  • Post dental procedures
  • Poor posture of your neck (holding your neck forward while looking at your phone or computer screen) can result in undue stress around the surrounding muscles.
  • Post a road traffic accident

HOW ARE THESE DISORDERS DIAGNOSED?

  • Your physiotherapist will ask you a detailed history regarding your symptoms and examine your jaw and surrounding muscles.
  • They may also check for other areas like your posture and nerves to find the accurate cause of your problem.
  • Occasionally you may also need to visit a dentist for the same in cases of a dental issue.
  • In certain cases, reference to a counsellor may be needed to help you with stress management techniques.

HOW CAN ONE TREAT THIS PROBLEM?

A number of treatment options are available for this condition. These include:

  • Soft tissue release or trigger point release
  • Ultrasound
  • Manual mobilization
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Posture correction
  • Dry Needling
  • Specific exercises for your jaw muscles

At PHYSIOREHAB your therapist will carry out a detailed assessment and decide the appropriate treatment based on your condition.

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