Temporomandibular Joint – The Jaw
Temporomandibular (also known as craniomandibular) disorders (TMD) are a complex of ailments involving the temporomandibular joints themselves and associated structures.
TMD are a very common problem affecting up to 33% of individuals within their lifetime and they are twice as prevalent in women as men. Similarly to other musculoskeletal pain problems, between 5% and 15% of all TMD patients become chronic pain patients.
TMD can be characterised by a combination of symptoms that may include pain, tenderness and dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) (catching, locking, clicking, grating, deviations and limitation of movements); muscles around the jaw; the cervical spine. Other symptoms include pain around the face, ear ache, tinnitus, bruxism and headaches.
Treatment can consist of:
- TMJ mobilisations
- TMJ movement pattern correction
- TMJ stabilisation and strengthening exercises
- Soft tissue releases (externally and/or internally)
- Cervical treatment
- Posture correction
- Electrotherapy modalities
Researchers have found that Physiotherapy is beneficial with TMD problems as it can significantly increase pain-free oral opening and considerably improve patients’ pain levels.