Do you experience pain in your jaws, ears or head? These are parts of the Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ) and if these headaches and earaches are frequent, you could be suffering from Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). We are the physical therapy specialists that can check all the symptoms associated with TMD and offer you the best available options to treat it.
What is TMJ? You ask. TMJ is basically the joint that connects the skull and the jaw. It is the joint that slides with the help of a disk when you open and close your mouth. These joint can move in many directions – up and down, side to side, back and forward – with the help of jaw muscles. Pain and discomfort arise when the TMJ has a dysfunction and the motion of the jaw is limited. This joint is very important as it is responsible for vital activities like chewing and talking and when there is a discomfort, the individual experiences pain when eating and even talking.
What are the symptoms of TMJ?
The symptoms vary from one patient to another:
- Persistent headaches and migraines
- Pain and tenderness in the jaw, ear, cheeks and neck areas
- Popping jaw
- Stiff jaw
- Pain when chewing
- Locking Jaws
- Change in how lower and upper teeth fit
- Tired feeling in the face
- “Ringing” in the ears – Tinnitus
Causes of TMD
TMD is not caused by a single thing. Anything that may cause tension in the jaw muscles can cause TMD. Discrepancies in the CR/CO may also lead to problems with TMJ. Some of the many issues that may pile together to cause discomfort and pain in the Temporomandibular Joint are:
- Bruxism – Grinding or clenching teeth
- Injury to the jaw or neck
- Poor posture of the neck, shoulders, and head
- Arthritis – it affects any joint
- Dislocation of the joint
- Improper bite alignment
- Clamping down on the lower jaw in attempts to open a collapsed airway during sleep
Treatment of TMD
The first step is recognizing any of the above causes of TMD and trying to avoid them. Our physical therapists will be able to teach you how to take good care of your jaw through the right posture of the neck, shoulders, and head. There are also gentle stretching and strengthening exercises that may be administered during the physical therapy sessions. Heat and cold treatments are also given and the jaws are retrained.
We have a variety of techniques and modalities that we use to treat TMD and some of them include gentle soft tissue mobilization, cold laser technology and joint mobilization techniques administered directly on the jaw muscles. We also offer electrical stimulation, alignment of the posture, corrective exercises and mobilization of the spine. With us, your health comes first and we aim at providing the best healthcare and we are the number one TMJ Treatment in Orange County.