Temporomandibular joint (TMJ)

Cracking? Pain? Locking?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can be caused by temporomandibular joint, cervical, or even craniocervical dysfunctions.

Like all joints, the TMJ is made up of joint surfaces, synovial fluid, a capsule, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and even an articular disc. These structures can be affected by osteoarthritis, inflammation, capsular retraction, loose ligaments, muscle tension, or locking caused by disc displacement.

Patients may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Headache/neck or facial pain
  • Numbness or tingling around the jaw
  • Pain when chewing, clenching teeth, or yawning
  • Cracking or locking of the jaw
  • Deviation of the jaw when opening or closing the mouth
  • Clicking sound/grating sensation when opening or closing the mouth or when chewing
  • Limited jaw movements
  • A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together

At PhysioExtra, these symptoms can be treated with physiotherapy provided by our skilled physiotherapists who are experts in this field.

Treatment will begin with an evaluation to assess your posture, the range of motion in your cervical, craniocervical, and TMJ joints, muscle strength, and ligament stability.

The physiotherapy treatments include:

  • Manual therapy approaches to restore normal movement
  • Muscle release techniques on the temporalis, suboccipital, and intraoral muscles (masseter, medial and lateral pterygoid muscles)
  • Exercise programs to increase joint range of motion, increase muscle control associated with the “clicking” sensations and major deviations, release tight muscles, and strengthen weaker muscles
  • Postural education (axial extension to decrease craniocervical compression)
  • Electrotherapy (ultrasound, TENS, etc.)
  • Prevention advice provided throughout the treatment

These approaches are used to reduce problems, alleviate symptoms, and restore your TMJ health.