TMJ Disfunction / Jaw Pain


TMJ Physio Canberra

The jaw joint, medically referred to as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), is made up of the bone below the mouth (the mandible or jawbone) and the bone just above the mouth (the maxilla). The TMJ allows the upper jaw to close on the lower jaw and is one of the most frequently used joints of the body.

The TMJ is a complex structure containing muscles, tendons and bones. Injury to, or disorders of, these structures can all result in pain in the jaw area. Jaw pain may occur on one side or on both sides, depending upon the cause. Also depending upon the exact cause, the pain may occur when chewing or may occur at rest.

Jaw pain symptoms

•  Pain or tenderness of the jaw and/or teeth

•  Headache

•  Facial pain

•  Ear pain, ringing in the ear

•  Dizziness

•  Difficulty in chewing

•  Locking of the jaw

•  Clicking sound or grating sensation when opening the mouth or chewing

What can I do if I have Jaw pain?

    1.  Keep your jaw in neutral posture: place the tongue on the roof of your mouth, teeth apart, lips together, and breathe through your nose.

    2.  Maintain good neck posture: the jaw and neck are critically dependent on each other.

    3.  Try both heat packs and cold packs.

    4.  Trial both anti-inflammatories and analgesics (e.g. Panadol). Do not exceed the guidelines on the packet and consult your G.P. if you are unsure whether it is right for you.

    5.  Avoid stressful situations! Do whatever works for you to relax.

    6.  Cut food into small pieces to avoid opening your jaw past 20mm (2 fingers high). Try to chew evenly on both sides of your mouth (within reason).

    7.  Do not eat hard and chewy foods. Choose soft foods like pasta or fish. You don’t have to eat soup.

    8.  Tear food with your front teeth (e.g. crusty bread rolls).

    By modifying your lifestyle and eating habits in accordance with these nine simple guidelines, you should be able to avoid the jaw movements that cause your pain to persist.  If your jaw is not getting better with these exercises, please call Southside Physiotherapy to book an appointment with a physiotherapist experienced in dealing with jaw pain. When booking, it is important to mention that you need help with your TMJ.