Jaw issues are a major source of pain and dysfunction among physiotherapy patients. There are many factors that contribute to issues related to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the tissues of the jaw.
The health and function of the jaw have a direct correlation with the health of the entire body. The muscles of the jaw are integrated with those of the cervical spine. Jaw pain can lead to other secondary issues and should be addressed as early as possible.
Common Jaw Issues
TMJ disorders are some of the most common issues affecting the jaw. Problems with the TMJ are a result of factors that include physical trauma, joint inflammation, and bruxism (grinding of the teeth).
Symptoms of TMJ disorders include reduced mobility and chronic pain. Physiotherapy treatments have been shown to reduce the severity of these symptoms and improve the function of the temporomandibular joint.
Jaw issues may lead to more significant dysfunctions that include an inability to open your mouth and a distortion in the alignment of the TMJ. This results in biomechanical limitations that affect a person’s ability to chew and speak.
Physiotherapy Solutions for Jaw Pain
Physiotherapy helps relieve jaw pain through the use of exercises that increase the strength of the surrounding muscles while maintaining optimal flexibility and mobility of the TMJ.
Lateral movements of the jaw and opening the jaw as wide as possible are movements that promote the function of the temporomandibular joint. These exercises can be repeated multiple times throughout the day for maximum benefit.
Manual therapy also benefits the health and function of the jaw. Light massage work can promote the flexibility of the muscles and increase blood flow through the tissues.
It can also have a calming effect that reduces stress, which is one of the main factors that contribute to jaw pain.
Stress Management and Jaw Pain
Taking care of your health is essential to managing the daily stressors that you face. Stress increases muscle tension in the shoulders and neck. This tension can translate into the jaw area and lead to grinding of the teeth.
Clenching of the jaws can occur at night while you sleep. Be aware of any discomfort you might experience upon waking in the morning to determine if you are unconsciously holding tension in the jaw.
Understanding how physiotherapy can help you find relief from jaw pain can provide you with the tools you need to prevent unwanted issues related to the TMJ.
Whether you are experiencing jaw pain from physical injury, teeth grinding or muscle imbalances, a physiotherapist can help you identify the root causes and develop a strategy for long-term relief from jaw pain.