28 Oct Smile! Your Jaw Needs Exercise Too.
Experiencing Jaw issues? You’re definitely not alone! Approximately 60% of the population experiences at least one sign of Temporomandibular joint (that’s your jaw joint) dysfunction, or TMD. Symptoms may include clicking or other noises, limitations in mouth opening, difficulty with eating or speaking. Although most people who have TMD experience some mild pain or none at all, when the condition advances it is often very debilitating. Unfortunately, the majority of those with TMD will not seek out care to redress their signs and symptoms. When left untreated, however, this ostensibly minor nuisance can evolve and create a dysfunction affecting your activities of daily living. Those with severe cases of TMD report being unable to eat and/or speak properly, and many describe their pain as tremendously disabling.
There can be many reasons why someone may develop TMD. These reasons include injury to the jaw (such as a strike/blow, or whiplash), postural dysfunction, emotional/psychic stress, bruxism (teeth-grinding, both voluntary and involuntary), as well as dietary factors (including the chewing of gum). While some people may seek the help of their dentists or doctors when experiencing TMD, fewer people know that a Physiotherapist who specializes in TMD is able to effectively diagnose and treat issues relating to the jaw. In my practice, I’ve seen my fair share of patients who present with TMD, and unfortunately, by the time they come in to see me, their condition is usually more advanced. This is why it is important to spread the word on physiotherapy for TMD before literally losing the ability to spread word.
When treating TMD, your Physiotherapist will perform a comprehensive examination and based on the findings will initiate treatment, which often includes manual therapy, specific exercise prescription, as well as recommendations for lifestyle modifications and assisted instruments (such as a night-time mouth guard). As soon as you notice signs of TMD, go in and see a Physiotherapist who specializes in treating it. You’ll thank yourself for doing so the next time you sit down to an ambrosial meal and engrossing conversation.
Written by Daniel Choudhury, Registered Physiotherapist