What is TMJD?

Temporomandibular dysfunction or disorder (TMJD) is one of the most common condition associated with the jaw. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a small hinge joint with a disc between the two surfaces located in front of the ear, this joint is formed by the mandible connecting with the skull. The muscles of the jaw create movement at this joint enabling you to talk, bite or chew food. There can be various causes for the onset of TMJD such as misalignment of the jaw, displacement of the disc, imbalance in muscles strength, grinding or clenching of the teeth (bruxism), poor posture and trauma to the head or face. 

Symptoms can include:

  • Joint clicking with movement of the jaw
  • Locking or limitation in range when opening or closing the mouth
  • Pain around one or both of the joint
  • Pain in the surrounding muscles
  • Sore teeth 
  • Ear aches 
  • Headaches – temples & behind the eyes
  • Stiff or sore neck 
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

Each person’s symptoms can vary there may be a combination of these symptoms or just one with the most predominate being the clicking or locking sensation with movement of the jaw.  

Treatment

Treatment for TMJD can be through a multidisciplinary approach with the focus to improve function & decrease pain Manual therapy is a non-invasive approach, techniques such as massage, mobilisation, exercises, strengthening and patient education can be included in the treatment plan. Applying these techniques to the joint itself or the associated muscles such as the neck can help relieve symptoms experienced and restore correct function. Other therapies which can work in conjunction with manual therapy are splint therapy or medication.