Jaw problems are common, with around 20-25% of the population having symptoms and 50-75% showing other signs of dysfunction eg. jaw clicking, grinding or crunching noises. The jaw or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a complex joint. It is capable of a range of different movements and has several muscles attached to it.
What Causes Jaw Pain/Temopromandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction?
- Grinding or clenching the teeth (which puts pressure on the TMJ of the jaw)
- Incorrect movement patterns of the disc within the TMJ, which itself can be the result of many factors
- Arthritis within the joint itself
- Increased stress levels, leading to increased tension of the face and/or jaw muscles, which can lead to more compression or imbalanced muscular pulling on the joint
- Changes to how the jaw moves when chewing etc. – this can be due to dental work or localised trauma (sports injury, road traffic accident etc.)
- Poor neck posture has also been proposed as a cause of TMJ dysfunction and jaw pain
Signs And Symptoms
Jaw pain can be felt at the joint (just below the ear) or can radiate into the cheek, behind the eye, face and/or head. Pain may be present when eating, yawning, talking or at rest. Neck pain can also be present with jaw pain and consistent poor posture is a common contributor to jaw problems. Clicking, crunching or grinding sensations around the same area can be experienced with or without pain.
How Can Physiotherapy Help?
At K.M. Woods Physiotherapy Ltd., Glasgow, our physiotherapists are trained to thoroughly assess your pain and function, relating to jaw problems. Treatment options may include one or a combination of the following:
- Joint mobilisations
- Exercises (to improve movement, strength and or coordination)
- Advice on how to reduce pain, improve posture and relaxation tips
What Can I Do To Help Myself?
- Habits such as chewing or biting nails, chewing gum or tops of pens can contribute to jaw pain and should be stopped. Eating a softer diet can also help to reduce the load of your jaw joints (eg. avoiding hard toffees or tough food that requires a lot of chewing).
- Stress and anxiety can also contribute to or make jaw pain worse, so anything you can do to reduce these if they are a factor could also help.
- Poor posture places increased strain on the ligaments and muscles which support the jaw joints. Avoid leaning your chin on your hands to prop yourself up and try to sit, stand and walk tall to bring your jaw into a more comfortable and effective position. Imagine a piece of string attached to the crown of your head, being drawn upwards to lengthen you up into better positions
Are you prone to jaw pain, & unsure if physiotherapy can help? Why not give us a call today, & one of our physiotherapists can call you back to advise whether we can help or not…01413530906