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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

Outcomes:

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.