What is the TMJ?

The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the important hinge joint between the jaw (or mandible) and head (temporal bone). It is key in eating, breathing, talking and importantly how we express ourselves. TMD/TMJ Physiotherapy treatment is available at our Cheltenham clinic, servicing Bayside and Southeast Melbourne.

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)

Figure 1 TMJ Temporomandibular Joint Anatomy

What is Temporomandibular Disorder?

When things go wrong, such as jaw stiffness, jaw pain, jaw clicking or jaw locking, the condition is known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD). There are different kinds of TMDs, relating to the anatomical problem in the muscles, ligaments the disc and the joint itself, just like any other musculoskeletal structure in the body.

They are common, affecting up to three-quarters of people during life. Most resolve over time, however, 10% of people suffer debilitating symptoms.

What are the issues and symptoms I might have?

Here are some common kinds of TMD-jaw problems that we treat directly or in collaboration with other health professionals, such as your Dentist, Oral Medicine Specialist or Maxillo-Facial Surgeon.

  • Muscular basis:
  • Joint factors:
    • TMJ joint clicks.
    • TMJ disc displacements.
    • TMJ joint locking.
    • Joint stiffness, both neck and TMJ.
    • TMJ osteoarthritis.
  • Psychological factors:
    • Stress, anxiety, emotional trauma.
  • Lifestyle factors

How is TMD diagnosed?

Getting the right diagnosis includes a proper physical examination performed by our physiotherapists and osteopaths. This includes looking at pain triggers,  the pain reactiveness and function of muscle nerve and joint tissues, and the biomechanics of the head and neck. We provide exercises and strategies to break up the clench frequency and to improve coordination of the jaw and head.

Young Woman with Jaw Pain
10% of people suffer debilitating TMJ-jaw pain.

What treatment can I expect?

Peak MSK Physiotherapy provides comprehensive and tailored treatments for TMJ and Jaw pain conditions. Our treatment is cornerstoned from your assessment and is focused on manual techniques, exercise and lifestyle factors to eliminate painful clicks, restore joint gliding and muscle memory (jaw and neck muscle motor control and strength). Education on the condition, self-care, lifestyle and ergonomic factors are important. Manual treatment of the TMJ, upper back and neck will relieve pain and improve movement.

Daytime clenching or bruxism can result in increased pain and sensitivity in the face, jaw and head. We work with our patients to change habits, training clenching awareness and reducing muscular tone, tension and shortening. This approach is both hands-on and exercise based and is therefore reliant on getting the patient involved in their own care.

Our team provides evidence-based treatment and services across a wide range of modalities. Peak MSK Physiotherapy have access to one of the state’s most experienced specialists with a deep knowledge of complex musculoskeletal conditions. Our team can help you get relief from your jaw pain. You can find out more about TMD through our blog.

Physiotherapy treatments and exercise programmes are effective in reducing daytime clenching, increasing mouth opening and reducing associated jaw, face and neck pain.

We collaborate with maxillo-facial surgeons managing rehabilitation for those who have had TMJ joint replacement, arthroscopy, and arthroplasty in Cheltenham and once a week at Epworth-Freemasons Hospital, East Melbourne.

Peak MSK Physiotherapy services Bayside Melbourne from our bright and modern Cheltenham physio clinic. With up-to-date facilities and a range of high-tech tools at our disposal, our experienced team of physiotherapists will get your smile back to open, sing, chew and feel better.

Book an appointment with our team today with no referral required - we would be happy to meet with you to discuss your challenges and set your goals.

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* Conferred by Fellowship of the Australian College of Physiotherapists in 2010