Physical therapy can help you get rid of your TMJ dysfunction!

Do you notice pains in your jaw, or do you find it hard to chew? This might be a result of certain jaw joint disorders like TMJ dysfunction. Extensive research has revealed that significant numbers of Canadians ranging from kids to the elderly suffer from TMJ dysfunction. However, men are more affected than women.

TMJ dysfunction could be very painful and traumatizing as jawbones are connected to the skull, which is a part of the brain(the most delicate organ in the body). The brain is very sensitive to any disorder in the function of body organs or body parts attached to it.

However, physiotherapy can help you cure your TMJ dysfunction in no time, as a therapeutic approach would be used to take care of your condition without medications or invasive surgery. At In Step Physical Therapy downtown Edmonton, our physiotherapists are well trained to give you the best treatment needed to relieve you of your TMJ dysfunction.

You can visit us at our clinic or contact us to book an appointment with us now to get your TMJ dysfunction checked and other underlying conditions treated. 

What exactly is TMJ dysfunction?

TMJ dysfunction is also known as TMJ disorder or Temporomandibular joint dysfunction. The terms are used interchangeably. It is a medical condition that involves a dysfunction in the joint joining your jawbone to your skull. As well as several muscles and ligaments around your jaw area.

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction may be mild or chronic depending on how much inflammation or irritation is found in the Temporomandibular joint at the time it is diagnosed. It might be difficult to determine the cause of your TMJ dysfunction due to factors such as jaw injury and arthritis. 

What causes TMJ dysfunction?

TMJ dysfunction is caused by a lot of reasons. At In Step Physical Therapy, our physiotherapists can help diagnose the cause of your TMJ dysfunction. Some of these causes may include:

  • Bruxism

This involves clenching the jaw and grinding your teeth excessively. Bruxism affects both children and adults. It might be caused as a result of intense concentration and an abnormal connection of the jaw to the skull. This can easily be fixed with our physiotherapy sessions.

  • Jaw dislocation

This occurs when the posterior part of the jaw shifts out of its normal position. Jaw dislocation tends to heal very fast. However, leaving it to heal by itself might cause several medical complications in the future. This means that whenever you experience a jaw dislocation, do not try to fix it by yourself. Make sure to seek medical attention. Our physiotherapists at In Step Physical Therapy downtown Edmonton are always ready to be of great help to you.

  • Arthritis in the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ)

Several types of arthritis can happen to the jaw joint. They include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. 

However, the most common arthritis found in the TMJ is osteoarthritis. It is a disease of the jaw joint. Osteoarthritis in the jaw joint occurs as a result of a breakdown in the articular cartilage, degeneration in the synovial tissues, or changes in the orientation of the jawbones. This medical condition could be very painful as it results in dysfunction in the movement of the jaw.

  • Stress

A high level of stress can be an aggravating factor for TMJ dysfunction. This is because stress might make you grind your teeth or clench your jaw when you are at sleep or during the day. The habit of grinding your teeth might seem harmless. However, it can lead to cracked teeth, wear and tear of the teeth, and TMJ dysfunction.

  • Serious workout

Workout doesn’t cause TMJ dysfunction directly although, it can easily lead to more pain in the Temporomandibular joint.

  • An improper eating habit

This singular act puts a lot of stress on your Temporomandibular joint.

How do I know that there is a dysfunction in my Temporomandibular joint?

Several signs and symptoms accompany a dysfunction in the Temporomandibular joint. These symptoms include:

  1. Pain in the jaw
  2. Difficulty in chewing
  3. Discomforting facial pain
  4. Pain in your Temporomandibular joint
  5. Limited movement of the jaw
  6. Headache
  7. Vertigo

If you notice any of these symptoms, it means that you need to see a healthcare provider. A physiotherapist is one of the best bets to take care of your Temporomandibular joint disorder. Physiotherapists at In Step Physical Therapy will help create a treatment plan to address your TMJ dysfunction.

How will a physiotherapist diagnose TMJ dysfunction?

When you visit us at In Step Physical Therapy downtown Edmonton for a TMJ dysfunction diagnosis, a physiotherapist will be assigned to you. After which, the physiotherapist will ask you several questions relating to your medical history. Then a series of physical tests and examinations will be carried out.

Normally, TMJ dysfunction is difficult to diagnose. However, our physiotherapists are well trained to carry out the necessary tests to diagnose a TMJ dysfunction patient. Instead of this, your physiotherapist may recommend imaging tests to ensure that your diagnosis is carried out properly. These imagining tests may include:

  • X-rays

Your physiotherapist might ask you to bite down on a small mouthpiece as they move an imaging machine around your head. The X-ray will allow your physiotherapist to see the bones around your teeth placement as well as around your jaw.

  • CT scan

This is a more advanced scan than the X-ray scan. It enables your physiotherapist to see your bones and joint tissues vividly.

  • MRI 

This scan will show if there are problems with the structure of your jaw. It shows a more detailed image of your tissues and organs. 

After these tests, your physiotherapist will create a treatment plan that might include a series of exercises and manual techniques that will help take care of your TMJ dysfunction as fast as possible. Contact us to book an appointment with us or visit us in our clinic in Edmonton.

Steps to take to relieve you of your TMJ dysfunction pain while at home or work?

TMJ dysfunction comes with a lot of excruciating pains. This pain might become unbearable after a while. However, there are certain activities your physiotherapist might recommend to help relieve you of your TMJ dysfunction pain. They include:

  • Always keep your jaw in a resting position

To get rid of your TMJ pain, reduce wide jaw movements. Such as singing, yelling, chewing, and yawning. Make sure your jaw muscles are put to rest as much as possible.

  • Maintain a correct posture at all times

Assuming an unideal posture for a long time can cause more pain in your jaw. When driving or sitting, use a chair with back support. Endeavor to sit upright as much as possible.

  • Sleep properly at night

To have good health, sleep is very important. When you go to bed at night, always sleep on your back and use a pillow as a neck support. Also, make sure you avoid sleeping on your stomach as much as possible.  This is to help reduce your TMJ dysfunction pain.

  • Use a cold or hot compressor

Using a cold compressor filled with ice can help reduce pain and swelling in your jaw joint. While a hot compressor will help increase the flow of blood and relax your jaw muscles. Apply the cold or hot compressor for 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Reduce stress

Try to reduce strenuous activities. You can try yoga practices to help you relax your jaw muscles and your mind.

  • Exercise your jaws 

Exercise is also a great recommendation to help increase movement in your joints.

  • Take note of bad habits

These bad habits include grinding your teeth, nail-biting, chewing cheek, and lips. These bad habits might seem normal, but they are not good for a healthy jaw muscle or bone.

Exercises we recommend during and after a TMJ dysfunction physiotherapy regimen

As stated earlier, exercises are very effective for alleviating TMJ dysfunction pain. It can also help strengthen your jaw movement.

These exercises include:

  • Relaxed jaw exercise

To perform the exercise, you need to place your tongue gently on the top of your mouth, at the back of your upper front teeth.

  • Chin tucks

This involves pulling your chin straight back, thereby developing a double chin with your chest up and your shoulder to the back. Repeat this ten times

  • Tongue up

This requires the closing and opening of your mouth, gently letting your tongue touch the roof of your mouth.

  • Side to side jaw movement

Do this by putting a ¼ inch object between your front teeth and gently moving your jaw from one side to the other. Make the object thicker when it becomes easier to move your jaw side to side.

  •  Forward jaw movement

This is a variation of the Side to side jaw movement exercise. It involves placing a ¼ inch object between your teeth. Then you move your jaw forward. As it becomes easier, increase the thickness of the object.

This and many more are the exercises your physiotherapists can recommend to relieve you of your TMJ dysfunction pain.

Do you need a physiotherapist to help you relieve your jaw pain? Contact us ASAP!!!

In Step Physical Therapy downtown Edmonton is ever ready to provide the best physiotherapists who can give any kind of treatment to address any sign of pain or discomfort. Whether you reside in Edmonton or any of the close by communities, our TMJ physiotherapy services can be accessible to you. Contact or visit us now to book an appointment with a physiotherapist.

Our specialists will use physical therapy to restore your jaw back to a pain-free state.