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What Is TMJ Pain? How Can Physiotherapy Help With It?

TMD or temporomandibular joint dysfunction or disorder is a common condition that prevents the natural functions of the jaw. It could be opening the mouth and chewing. Currently, it affects more than ten million people in America alone. Many times, it is referred to as TMJ, which represents the name of the joint itself.

TMJ affects women more than men, especially those between the ages of 20 to 40 years. It can cause a range of problems from chronic jaw clenching, poor posture, and poor teeth alignment to fracture. And conditions like lockjaw in which the muscles around the jaw spasm and minimize the ability of the mouth to open effortlessly.

Our Physiotherapists in Calgary can help people with the TMJ reduce the pain, stress on the jaw, and regain normal jaw movement.

Defining The TMD.

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction or disorder is a common condition that can prevent the natural functioning of our jaw. It could be opening the mouth and chewing. TMJ or temporomandibular joint is the hinge joint that conjoins our jaw to our skull in front of our ears. The Temporomandibular Joint Pain Therapy in Calgary directs the jaw movement and allows you to open and close your mouth side-by-side while yawning, talking, and chewing without any pain.

Here are some of the reasons that can cause TMD;

Poor posture habits – it is one of the primary reasons that can cause the TMD as most of the time we sit at our desks, where we frequently hold our heads too far forward as we work. Bad posture can be caused by other things as well. Working at the commutation station, sitting in the car for a long time, carrying the child in the same hip. All of these can lead our heads in an awkward position and can cause jaw problems. Our forward head position puts stress on the disk, muscles, and ligaments of TMJ. The jaw will have to rest in the opened position, and the chewing muscles become overused.


if someone suffers from a traumatic accident that involves the head or face, the fracture of the lower jaw might result in causing the TMD. Even after the fracture resolution, TMJ can cause pain and stiffness for a long time.

Chronic jaw clenching

you might have seen many people clenching their jaws at night while sleeping. It usually happens because of stress. Many people clench their teeth throughout the day, especially while dealing with stressful conditions. This will put pressure on the TMJ and its encircling muscles.

Misaligned teeth

if your teeth are misaligned, more stress will be put on the TMJ while carrying out the day-to-day jaw motions like chewing and talking.


people might experience a loss of TMJ mobility and function post-surgery of the jaw and face.


when the disc or soft-tissue cushion situated between the ball and the socket of TMJ gets displaced, it causes the clicking of the jaw and constant pain.


it happens when jaw muscles spasm and the jaw cannot open entirely. Other causes might include tetanus, jaw, and radiation therapy to the neck and face.

Arthritis in the TMJ can also lead to TMD.

Also Read: Top Health Benefits for Getting Physiotherapy Regularly

How does it feel when you have TMD?

TMD’s symptoms can stay for a few days or last for years. First of all, you will feel jaw pain.

If the following pain accompanies your jaw pain, seek medical attention instantly.

-  Numbness in the left arm.

-  Dizziness.

-  Shortness of breath.

-  Nausea.

-  Left-arm pain.

-  Chest pain.

TMD can cause the jaw to lock or get stuck in a certain position. You might experience headaches, feel pain while chewing foods. It might become difficult for you to open your mouth.

Symptoms of TMD include;

-  Headaches.

-  Dizziness.

-  Jaw fatigue.

-  Jaw pain.

-  Neck pain.

-  Locking jaw.

-  Ringing in the ears.

-  Difficulty while opening the mouth, talking, or eating.

-  Popping sound in the jaw.

-  Headaches.

How can physiotherapy help in treating TMD?

Physiotherapy for TMJ can help you restore the natural movement of your jaw and reduce the pain. As per your condition, your therapist will make the treatment plan suitable for you. Your treatment might include the following;

Posture education.

If you are used to sitting with your head in the enhanced forward position, you are putting more stress on the muscles under your chin. While you rest, it can cause your lower jaw to go backward and the mouth to be in the open position which can cause TMJ. If you are overworking your jaw muscles to enforce the jaw closed so your mouth will not remain open all the time. Your therapist will educate you to be aware of your posture so that you can improve the resting position of your jaw, neck, head, breastbone, and shoulder blades while you are walking or sitting.

Improvement in jaw movement.

Simply Google search TMJ specialist near meand access a physiotherapist who will offer skilled hands-on and reliable techniques to enhance movement delicately and reduce pain in joints and tissues. Your physiotherapist might deploy manual therapy to stretch the jaw to reinstitute normalcy in joint and muscle flexibility or break up scar tissues that at times develop while there is injury.

Also, your physiotherapist will teach you special low-head exercises that do not put pressure on your TMJ. It can strengthen your jaw muscles and restore more pain-free and natural movement.

Special pain treatment.

If you are going through intense pain, your physiotherapist might offer treatments like ultrasound or electrical stimulation to alleviate the pain.

Strengthening the hypermobile joints.

Many people have TMJ that moves away in a poor pattern rapidly. Your physiotherapist can identify this problem and help you with a treatment and exercise plan to strengthen weak muscles and improve your natural movement pattern.

Pain relief.

When you are going through a lot of pain and need pain relief, a physiotherapist can reduce the pain with acupuncture, thermal modalities and gentle manual therapy. A qualified and skilled physiotherapist at Vista Physiotherapy and Massage will go through an in-depth assessment of your problem and customize TMJ treatment plan as per the requirements.