Signs and Symptoms of TMJ

By Sally Ann Quirke, Chartered Physiotherapist | Filed under: TMJ Pain


TMJ Pain

The Signs, Symptoms and Treatment Options

TMJ Pain - signs and symptoms
problems affect are muscles, ligaments, capsule and the TMJ joint itself

Before we dive into the signs symptoms of TMJ, firstly you might ask what is the TMJ? The TMJ is the tempero-mandibular joint which is the joint that connects your mandible to your skull (see more on what is TMJ here).

And what does ‘TMJ disorder’ actually mean? The phrase TMJ disorders cover an umbrella of chronic and acute painful presentations that are associated with the TMJ Joint.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of TMJ?

These are a few examples of common complaints given to me daily at my physiotherapy practice from clients. From my experience the signs and symptoms of TMJ are varied and many. In my practice I would regularly see two TMJ problems a day and rarely are any two presentations the same. However, the common symptoms of TMJ typically are:

  • If your jaw click when you yawn?
  • If you get jaw ache when eating or after a night’’s sleep?
  • If you get headaches associated with your jaw pain?

When these symptoms present, they are commonly related to the following problems.

  1. Arthritis.
  2. Trauma.
  3. Dislocations.
  4. Developmental anomalies.

What structures are affected in TMJ disorders?

The structures TMJ problems affect are muscles, ligaments, capsule and the TMJ joint itself. I frequently see problems with teeth, neck pain and back pain associated with TMJ movement problems.

The most important first step is to recognise the primary cause of TMJ problems.

Frequently, I see people who have their bite changed through intense dental work when the source of the TMJ alignment problem is the neck or skull bones primarily. In these situations, dental work could have been avoided if the primary source of the problem was identified from the outset.

So, again this comes back to my key principle in the management of painful conditions - the importance of an accurate diagnosis from the outset. This involves understanding your condition in conjunction with a thorough examination from a well trained Physiotherapist, doctor and - possibly - dentist.

To summarise, TMJ problems are varied and many and may affect your neck, back and bite. It can be associated with headaches also. Most importantly an accurate diagnosis of the source and the cause is needed to ensure the most appropriate and effective treatment course.

Read More
  • Causes of TMG - It is important to identify the primary cause of your TMJ condition, so that you can progress on the correct treatment path. Read more about the Causes of TMJ here

  • Treatment of TMJ - There are two aspects involved in the treatment of TMJ disorders: Pain relief and mechanical correction. Identifying the primary cause will ensure the root of the TMJ disorder is being addressed from the early stages of rehabilitation. Read more about treating TMJ here.

  • TMJ Exercises - Often these severe symptoms can be relieved with specific TMJ exercises. It just takes the right exercises - and a continued effort over time Read more about TMJ Exercises here

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While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

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