Jaw Pain/TMJ

Physiotherapy for TMJ

The TMJ, or Temporomandibular Joint, is the hinge that connects the jaw to the temporal bones. If you put your finger directly in front of your ear and open and close your mouth, you can feel the joint moving.

TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder) can occur through many sources. It can be the result of injury to the jaw or the muscles of the head or neck (ie Whiplash). It can also be caused by grinding or clenching your teeth, arthritis, stress, anatomy, teeth growth, or the movement of the soft cushion or disk between the ball and socket of the joint.

This disorder can be a temporary condition or a chronic one. It occurs more commonly with women than men and is usually found in patients between the ages of 20 and 40 years.

There are many symptoms of TMD. In fact, there are far too many to name them all. The more common symptoms include:

  • Pain or tenderness when chewing, speaking, or yawning.
  • Difficulty opening the mouth.
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds from the joint when chewing, speaking, or yawning (with or without pain)
  • Swelling
  • Toothaches
  • Dizziness
  • Earaches, hearing problems, or ringing in the ears.

There are a few things that you can do at home to assist in treating TMD. Hot or cold packs can ease discomfort and bring down the swelling. Eating softer foods or cutting solids into smaller pieces to make them easier to chew is beneficial. Avoid putting pressure on the TMJ with movements such as holding the phone between your ear and shoulder. Poor posture, chewing gum, yelling and singing can only make the condition worse.

Believe it or not, there is physiotherapy for this. Treatments may include massage to ease the tension in your face, neck, shoulders, or upper back. Your physiotherapist may mobilize your jaw, neck, or upper back. They may use ultrasound, TENS, or other electrical modalities. They will also teach you self-massage and exercises and educate you on proper posture and avoiding activities that exacerbate the condition. 

Charles Pépin, physiotherapist, has had training to treat this condition.  If you have TMJ pain, contact Gateway Physiotherapy at 705-474-4440 to book an appointment!