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What is TMJ Headache, and how can physiotherapy help with a better cure?

If you have TMJ headache, you know how uncomfortable and crippling it can get. You could have tried several different therapies to get some comfort, but you might not have thought of physiotherapy. TMJ discomfort can be effectively treated with physiotherapy, which also helps to improve jaw function. We'll look at how physiotherapy can treat TMJ in this blog article.

What is TMJ?

The two joints that bind your jaw bone, or mandible, to your skull's temporal bone are your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. These joints allow you to talk, eat, and move your jaw freely when they are regularly operating. 

TMD (temporomandibular dysfunction) refers to issues with the TMJ that cause jaw discomfort. TMD may be a painful, incapacitating illness that is challenging to treat. However, by working with a skilled dentist and physiotherapist, individuals can effectively eliminate their problems.

How long does TMD pain last?

Depending on the person, TMD discomfort may last a short while or a long time. For some individuals, the discomfort is transient and subsides within a few days. Others may experience discomfort that lingers for weeks, months, or even years. No matter how long you have been experiencing TMD discomfort, the good news is that physical therapy can help. 

As soon as you suffer TMD discomfort, we advise you to get therapy from a physical therapist to stop the pain from returning or worsening. You will get relief more quickly the earlier you start your therapy!

What causes TMD?

TMD is a widespread disorder that affects millions of individuals worldwide. Although the precise etiology of TMD is unknown, it is assumed that some variables, including genetics, arthritis, stress, and teeth clenching or grinding, contribute to the condition. Physical treatment can assist with the pain and other TMD symptoms, even though there is no known cure for the disorder.


Certain persons have joint trauma that leaves the joint hypermobile; in some cases, scarring can cause one of the TMJ joints to become tight. The ensuing uneven mobility causes the joint structures to deteriorate more quickly.

Eating habits

Eating can sometimes cause damage to the TMJ joints. Your TMJ is readily harmed by biting big or hard things, especially if you exclusively bite on one side of your mouth.


Your dentist could have said that you grind and suggested a sleep guard to prevent damage to your teeth. Your TMJ joints are also affected by jaw clenching and grinding while sleeping. Muscle spasms and joint or disc damage are possible outcomes.


Many of the muscles that regulate the jaw also link to the upper neck, which most people are unaware of. The forward head position is a typical contributor to jaw problems.

What are the common TMJ symptoms?

The common symptoms of TMJ can range from minor to fairly serious. They could make it challenging to consume solid food. Here is a list of typical symptoms that TMJ disorder patients report.

  • Headaches 
  • Dizziness
  • Jaw locking in the open position 
  • Patients' jaw angles and the side of their head experience muscle spasms
  • The patient will feel pain in the TMJ joint in front of the ear opening
  • Crackling or clicking that hurts
How can physiotherapy help treat TMJ headaches?
Enhances TMJ mobility

The physiotherapist can utilize manual treatment techniques to rehabilitate the joint if it is determined that a patient has TMD due to a stiff joint (often due to some prior trauma that caused stiffness). They will then recommend particular stretches to assist you in maintaining your increased range of motion between appointments.

Postural training

For some persons with TMJ problems, altering that forward head position has a significant impact. We instruct patients to stretch shortened tissues and strengthen postural muscles to enhance head posture. Additionally, your physiotherapist will offer advice on arranging your workspace, vehicle, or any other place you spend a lot of time sitting to encourage a healthy body posture.

Alleviates muscle spasm

Physiotherapists are specialists in anatomy and know how to evaluate the muscles surrounding your TMJ. Muscle spasm is frequently found to be impeding TMJ healing. Less discomfort will eventually follow from using manual therapy techniques to alleviate spasms since they will help enhance joint alignment and mobility.


High-frequency sound waves are used in this therapy to warm the tissues and lessen inflammation. Ultrasound therapy can help individuals with stiffness or tension release their muscles and increase their range of motion. It may also lessen pain.


Your physio could treat your jaw discomfort with a variety of massage techniques. Your jaw muscles, face muscles, neck muscles, and shoulder muscles may all be massaged. The purpose of massage is to loosen up the muscles and increase blood flow to them so that your temporomandibular joint can move normally.


Jaw exercise is one of the most crucial elements of your TMD treatment plan. Exercises to help you with how your jaw opens and shuts may be recommended by your physical therapist. They could ask you to use a mirror so you can watch how your mouth and jaw move and make sure they stay in the right alignment while working out. The purpose of TMD exercise is to regain pain-free, normal jaw mobility.

Ask TMJ specialists in Calgary if you have any questions regarding your TMD rehabilitation programme. They will probably be pleased to assist you in comprehending your therapy plan and making modifications so you may benefit most from physios.

Solidifies hypermobile joints

Some individuals' TMJs move way too much or unfavorably. Your physiotherapist can identify this issue and offer treatments and exercises to strengthen weak muscles and enhance your natural gait.

Pain relief 

Thermal modalities, acupuncture, and light manual therapy are all effective painkillers that physiotherapists may use on patients who are in severe discomfort and need some respite so they can start implementing the modifications mentioned above. 

A top-notch physical therapist will thoroughly evaluate your specific TMJ issue and adapt your treatment plan to the underlying cause of your symptoms.


Physical therapy outcomes might be seen sooner or later, depending on the patient and the severity of their disease. Most of the time, TMD patients start to feel better a few weeks after commencing therapy. Some individuals, meanwhile, might require more time to observe meaningful benefits.