Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)


TMJ Physiotherapy Melbourne

Your Temporomandibular Joint or TMJ is the most used joint in the body. Your TMJs (jaw joints) are involved with eating, talking, breathing and, probably most importantly, expressing our feelings and emotions. Because it is such an important joint, we have dedicated a Blog post to it, ‘Understanding Jaw Pain’. When things go wrong with your TMJ it is known as Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD).

You may or may not experience jaw pain or tenderness with TMJ dysfunction. The most common symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain or tenderness

  • Jaw clicking / clunking

  • Feelings of jaw catching / locking

  • Tightness / Aching in the facial, forehead or ear regions

  • Associated headaches or neck stiffness

  • Teeth grinding, clenching / Bruxism

  • Possible facial pins and needles / tingling, may be associated with teeth pain

TMD sufferers are often teeth grinders or clenchers.  TMD can cause jaw headaches, ear pain, dizziness and upper neck pain. Some TMJ patients report pain or inability to eat, talk or sing. Tinnitus or ear ringing can also be associated with TMJ dysfunction.

Assessment & treatment technique, release of the lateral pterygoids, for TMD.

Assessment & treatment technique, release of the lateral pterygoids, for TMD.

TMJ dysfunction is considered a multifaceted musculoskeletal disorder. 

The most common causes of TMD include:

  • Masticatory (chewing) muscle dysfunction, 

  • Derangement/displacement of TMJ articular disc,

  • Bruxism: nocturnal grinding of teeth leads to increased pressure in the TMJ and asymmetrical movement.

  • Occlusal Problems: Poor bite, Asymmetrical or Retrognathic (underbite, overbite) .

Contributory factors include:

  • Mandibular malalignment secondary to occlusal appliance or orthodontic treatment.

  • Removal of wisdom teeth,

  • Prolonged mouth opening eg dental procedure, 

  • Poor cervical posture, 

  • Myofascial pain, 

  • Neuropsychological factors,

  • Stress, and 

  • Whiplash and other less common causes include: trauma (e.g., blow to the chin), infection, polyarthritic conditions, tumors, and anatomical abnormalities.

Mobilisation of the TMJ, treatment for TMD.

Mobilisation of the TMJ, treatment for TMD.

KRP’s expert team of TMJ physiotherapists have had extra training in the complex anatomy of the mouth, jaw and head and neck, along with the best evidence based management of TMD. You can understand a little more about TMD in our blog ‘Understanding Jaw Pain’.

KRP physiotherapists can help your TMD using education, mixed manual therapy techniques, upper cervical mobilisation or manipulation, dry needling, advice about TMD symptom control and improvement in maximum mouth opening. Manual techniques included intra-oral myofascial release and massage therapy on masticatory muscles and neck mobilisation.

Servicing Niddrie, Essendon, Airport West, Keilor & the Northern suburbs for over 40 years, you can book to see one of our expert TMJ team online here or call 93794557 to speak to one of our admin superstars.