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HomeHealthWhat is TMJ? Understanding Symptoms, Diagnoses and Physiotherapy Treatments

What is TMJ? Understanding Symptoms, Diagnoses and Physiotherapy Treatments


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The temporomandibular joint links the jaw to the skull. When this joint is injured or damaged, a condition known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome or Temporomandibular Dysfunction can develop (TMD). 

You use your TMJs every time you speak, yawn, or chew. The TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) is a joint located near the skull base on either side of the head. Any injury or discomfort in that joint will mean that you will need to visit a TMJ specialist in South Calgary.

It is the structure that links your lower jaw to your skull. The TMJ comprises two bones: a rounded protrusion of the mandible that rests against depression in the skull and a disc-like construct consisting of a soft bone called cartilage between the two bones (articular disc).

Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:

  • Jaw pain or sensitivity 
  • Pain in one or both temporomandibular joints 
  • Aching discomfort in and around the ear 
  • Difficulty chewing or pain during chewing 
  • Aching face pain

Here are some issues that can cause TMD

The temporomandibular joint is a hinge-sliding joint. The portions of the bones that come together in the joint are coated in cartilage and are protected by a tiny shock-absorbing disk that usually maintains smooth mobility.

  • Inflammation due to osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Excessive stress because of missing permanent chewing teeth 
  • Chronic pain because of bruxing (grinding and clenching teeth while sleeping) 
  • A history of jaw injury
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A physician will diagnose TMD by reviewing the patient’s history and doing a physical examination to ascertain the source of the symptoms. TMD cannot be diagnosed using a particular test. 

To confirm the diagnosis, a doctor may refer the patient to a craniomaxillofacial specialist, an otolaryngologist or an ENT specialist, or a dentist specializing in jaw issues. 

Occasionally, a health care provider will request an MRI of the temporomandibular joint to look for damage to the jaw joint’s cartilage and rule out other medical issues.

How Can Physiotherapy Help TMJ Patients?

The goal of physiotherapy for temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) is to promote relaxation, loosen tight muscles, and release scar tissue. Physiotherapy is a critical component of the healing process following TM joint surgery since it assists in minimizing scar tissue development and muscle stiffness.

Joint Strengthening

Some people have a TMJ that is poorly moving in a certain way to imbalance joints. Your Townsville physiotherapist can recognize this condition and helps with therapies and exercises to strengthen your weak muscles and enhance your movement pattern.

Enhancing TMJ Mobility

If a patient is diagnosed with TMJ due to a stiff joint (often because of previous trauma), the physiotherapist can utilize manual therapy techniques to rehabilitate the joint. They will then recommend stretches to assist you in maintaining your improved range of motion between appointments.

Treating Muscle Spasms

Physiotherapists are anatomy specialists and are well-versed in assessing the muscles surrounding your TMJ. Often, we discover that muscular spasm is impeding the TMJ’s recovery. Manual therapy techniques for spasm reduction will aid in joint alignment and mobility improvement, resulting in reduced discomfort!

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Posture Corrections

It is a huge difference to change this forward head position for certain persons with TMJ problems. At the Port Physiotherapy and Massage, you have an answer to – where is TMJ specialist near me in Calgary. This is because the therapists educate patients on developing the postural muscles and extending the shortened tissues to enhance their posture in the head. Your physiotherapist will also give ideas for setting up your workplace, automobile or anyplace you spend a lot of time staying for a healthier posture in your body.

Alleviating TMJ Pain 

When patients are in significant pain and require urgent relief to begin making the changes mentioned earlier, a physiotherapist can utilize thermal modalities, acupuncture, and light manual therapy to ease the pain.

A competent physiotherapy clinic will thoroughly evaluate your unique TMJ problem and customize the treatment strategy to the root cause of your symptoms.

Do not begin physiotherapy or jaw exercises to increase jaw range of movement until your doctor has identified the kind of TM joint issue you have and the impacted jaw structures.

Individuals should clean and floss their teeth daily and visit a dentist every six months unless otherwise advised. Individuals should always inform their dentist whether they are experiencing TMJ discomfort.

Additionally, it is critical to chew on all sides of the mouth. Some persons who suffer from TMJ pain stop chewing with one side due to the pain. This worsens the pain over time.

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