Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)

Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a joint in the jaw that is involved with eating, talking, yawning, breathing, expressing feelings and emotions and is in fact the most frequently used joint in your body. When this joint doesn’t work as it should, it is known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

You may or may not experience jaw pain or tenderness with TMD. Symptoms can include clicking, popping, grinding, headaches and or ear pain, upper neck pain, limited opening or inability to fully clench your jaw. Some patients with TMD report pain or an inability to eat, talk or sing. Tinnitus or ear ringing can also be associated with TMD.

TMD occurs as a result of problems with the TMJ and the facial muscles that surround it. The upper neck can also refer pain into the jaw region. TMD is widespread with 60-70% of the general population having at least one sign of TMD. However only ¼ of those individuals will be aware of these symptoms and report to a health care practitioner.

Physiotherapy is generally very effective at treating TMD and can include trigger point release and massage of the facial muscles, and joint mobilisation through the TMJ itself as well as the neck and upper back. Physiotherapy may also address posture, muscle imbalances and ergonomics. A home exercise program will generally be prescribed to compliment treatment. People normally feel relief over the first couple of treatments .