Jaw pain? Trouble opening your mouth? Headaches? If you have experienced them, you would know that severe temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction can be incredibly disabling.
Many people don’t realise that TMJ dysfunction is a significant source of pain in the neck/head region – and that these conditions are highly treatable. Research suggests that around 20% of people may suffer from TMJ dysfunction, with a slightly higher prevalence in women.
Signs and symptoms of TMJ dysfunction include:
- pain tenderness around jaw
- pain in and around the ear sometimes at the front
- pain when chewing clenching or yawning
- stiffness in the jaw sometimes worse in the morning
- feelings of malocclusion (poor alignment of the jaw)
- pain that may be dull when not using the jaw
- pain may radiate into the parietal (side) or occipital (back) region of the head
- may experience “noise” when moving the jaw
- may be associated with bruxism (or abnormal clenching of the teeth)
It is important to note that the pain may only be on one side of the head.
TMJ dysfunction can be treated by an experienced physiotherapist with a range of techniques that would be familiar including massage and exercise. It is important that conservative (non-surgical) strategies are used initially with TMJ dysfunction conditions.