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  • Writer's picturePatrick Chiu

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) Pain

The temporomandibular joint, commonly known in medical and lay-terms as TMJ, is the main joint of your mouth. It connects your jaw bone (mandible) to your skull with its sliding, hinge joint. 4 main muscles cross this joint and work together to allow you to eat, speak and breathe. Dysfunction of this joint can cause pain in the joint itself and the surrounding muscles that control the jaw.

The exact cause is hard to know for certain but can involve a previous jaw injury, arthritis, high stress lifestyle, posture, and/or a history or tendency of clenching and grinding the teeth

Symptoms and signs of TMJ disorder include:

- Pain or tenderness of the jaw

- Pain in one or both of the TMJ joints (found just in-front of the ear canal)

- Muscle spasm

- Aching/pain in and around the ear

- Painful clicking/snapping of one of the joints with opening/closing/lateral movement

- Difficulty chewing or pain with chewing

- Locking of the joint, causing difficulty opening and closing your mouth

Although the exact cause is hard to determine, the pain and dysfunction is often temporary and can be relieved with self-management strategies and non-surgical treatment.

With a thorough assessment, Physiotherapy can help determine what strategies are best for you. This can include movements, exercises and techniques to:

1) Improve TMJ mobility

2) Reduce Muscle Spasm 3) Strengthen The Joint

4) Pain Relief Techniques such as self-massage

If you are in pain and want to see if Physiotherapy can help, book an appointment with me, Patrick Chui, online at ------------------------- Author: Patrick Chiu, Registered Physiotherapist – Specializing in Chronic Pain and TMJ Dysfunction

Patrick provides online physio (aka telephysio, virtual physio, telerehab) to patients all over British Columbia including Haida Gwaii, Fort St James, Fraser Lake, Fort St John, Fort Nelson, Dease Lake, Dawson Creek, Hudson's Hope, Mackenzie and Stewart. She also collaborates with the First Nations Health Authority to provide service. Patrick lives in Vancouver, BC.

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