Problems with the tempomandibular joint (TMJ) are known as temporomandibular joint disorder or dysfunction (TMD). TMD is very common with some reports suggesting that over 10 million people in the United States have had it. Some of the common causes of TMD are:
- Poor posture. One of the reasons TMD is so common is because many of us spend lots of time sitting, where we often hold our head too far forward as we drive or work (also a common cause of neck pain and headaches). The “forward head position” puts a strain on the muscles, disk, and ligaments of the TMJ. The jaw is forced to “rest” in an opened position, and the chewing muscles become overused.
- Muscle imbalances. For a variety of reasons many people can develop an imbalance in the jaw muscles that put an unnatural load on the joint leading to pain. Some of the common causes are bruxism – or clenching the jaw at night, and malocclusion – when the teeth come together in an un-natural way.
- Surgery. Post-surgical procedures to the face, teeth, and jaw may contribute to a loss in mobility and function of the TMJ.
- Jaw pain
- Jaw fatigue
- Difficulty opening your mouth to eat or talk
- Ringing in your ears
- Popping sounds in your jaw
- Neck pain
- Locking jaw
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
At Victoria Physical Therapy we can help restore the natural movement of your jaw, reduce TMJ restrictions, address postural contributions, and thus decrease pain and improve the function of the TMJ.