Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is an entire classification of disorders involving the Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ).
The TMJs are essentially the jaw joints. There are found on each side of your head just in front of your ear canals. Like many other joints in the body, they consist of:
- Muscles that power joint movement,
- Ligaments that hold the bones together,
- Cartilage that provides a smooth surface for the bones to move on,
- A disc that facilitates proper movement of the bones,
- Elastic tissue that holds the disc in place.
When not in alignment, one or more of the above tissues can cause symptoms or pain. In fact, studies suggest that almost one third of everyone at some point experiences TMJ symptoms such as pain with chewing, yawning, or jaw opening. Women seem to have higher incidents of TMJ problems than men and it is estimated that 3-6% of the population would benefit from treatment.
There are a variety of temporomandibular disorders. The muscles (myogenous), joint(s) (arthrogenous), or a combination of the two may cause pain.
Physiotherapists treat muscle and joint problems however require additional training and certifications to address a TMJ. Brampton Physiotherapy & Wellness Institute is one of the few clinics in Ontario to roster specially trained physiotherapists that specialize in these conditions.
A majority of patients diagnosed with TMJ, also have associated neck pain. Both respond well to treatment provided by a physiotherapist. No other healthcare practitioner is better trained to address both TMJ and neck pain.
TMJ may appear to be a complex and daunting condition but it doesn’t have to be. This website and your physiotherapist can help to insure the following:
- You are properly educated,
- Your treatment is safe, effective, and reversible, goals are realistic,
- Your examination is thorough and meant to identify the source(s) of pain.
When a physiotherapist performs the assessment, they will be able to classify you as having one or more of the following:
- An inflammatory condition
- Limited jaw range of motion
- Excessive jaw range of motion
- Arthrogenous Disc Displacement
- Jaw muscle pain
- Neck pain causing related headaches (sometimes mistaken as TMD)
Once the involved structures are diagnosed and identified, the therapist will be able to provide you with the most appropriate and effective treatment plan.