What is TMJ and TMD?
The Jaw, also know for temporomandibular joint (TMJ), is a complex and busy joint that we use all day everyday whilst we talk and chew our food.
This joint is responsible for all the movements you make with the mouth, there being one on each side (in front of each ear). The disorder of this joint and the muscles that make these movements of the mouth are called temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Millions of people around the world suffer pain due to this disorder. Decreasing the quality of life and restricting social interaction. One of the most common symptoms of TMD is difficulty or cracking noise when opening the mouth, being unable to open or close the mouth and headaches more than twice a week. Many patients have this symptom and are unaware that it can be caused by TMD.
Causes of TMD
Although it affects millions of people worldwide, TMD is not a well-known known disorder. They are lesions possibly caused by unnecessary movements that we make with the mouth; Habits such as: gently biting teeth, biting lips or cheeks, wrong positions of work, sleeping, etc. Training for the elimination of these habits, or protection of teeth and muscles for those with bruxism may be the key to relieving the symptoms of dysfunction.
Common Symptoms that patients can present:
Headache on one or both sides of the head more than two days a week
A "click" or unlocking sensation when opening or closing the mouth
Pain when yawning, when opening the mouth too much or chewing
Mouth that "gets stuck", hangs or leaves the place
Tiredness on the face or when chewing
Change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit - uncomfortable bite
Ranger or clenching of the night / daytime teeth
Some types of ringing in the ears
Pain or tightness in the neck referring pain to the face or head.
How Physiotherapy can help with TMD?
The physiotherapy treatment provides the relief of the symptomatology and seeks to restore the normal function of the masticatory apparatus and the posture.
Physiotherapy uses therapeutic exercises (kinesiotherapy), massages and pompage for the recovery of movement and TMJ function, symptom-free, associated with RPG (GPR – Global Postural Re-education), and functional training for the treatment of the postural consequences of TMD.