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Jaw Pain (Temporomandibular Disorder – TMD)

About Jaw Pain

What Is Temporomandibular Disorder – TMD?

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD) is a broad term used for a group of disorders affecting the jaw joint and associated structures such as muscles and a disc. TMD can be caused by various factors such as trauma, bruxism, clenching, arthritis or arthrosis, disc, stress, dental occlusion, sleep apnea and more.

TMD Diagnosis

How Do We Diagnose a TMD ?

Diagnosing TMJD involves a comprehensive examination, which may include a review of the patient’s medical history, physical examination of the jaw and surrounding areas, and imaging studies like arthrography, X-ray, CT and MRI.

TMD Symptoms

Restricted Jaw Function

Joint noise

Headache

Dizziness

Tinnitis

Fullness of ear sensation

Ringing in the ears 

 

Treating TMD With The Watson Headache® Approach

Temporomandibular Disorder Treatment

The treatment of TMD aims to address the underlying dysfunction in the jaw and cervical spine and alleviate symptoms and improve jaw function. The specific treatment approach may vary depending on the individual’s condition and needs. Some common treatment strategies include:

Manual therapy: Mobilisation techniques performed by your practitioner can help restore functional range and improve stiffness and tension, relieving symptoms.

Exercise therapy: Specific exercises that target the neck and surrounding muscles can improve flexibility, coordination, stability and strength.

Posture and ergonomic modification: adjustments to posture and ergonomic factors during daily activities can help to alleviate strain on the affected areas and reduce symptom occurrences.

Medication: In some cases, medications such as muscle relaxants, pain relievers, or anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to manage jaw symptoms. Medication options are determined on an individual basis.

Lifestyle modifications: Adopting healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise, stress management techniques, and maintaining good sleep hygiene, can contribute to overall well-being and symptom management.

Surgery: There are various closed and open surgical approaches you can take. This can be discussed with your doctor.

 

It is important to work closely with healthcare professionals experienced in managing jaw pain to develop an individualized treatment plan. TMD symptoms are relatively common, and it occurs in 10-25% of the population, however only approximately 5% seek treatment. The prognosis can be positive, with many individuals experiencing improvement in symptoms with appropriate interventions. However, it may take time and patience to find the most effective combination of treatments for each individual.

 

For further reading about management strategies for TMD read our blogs on Diet and Sleep Hygiene

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