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Are you suffering from TMJ or TMJ pain? Does the pain affect your everyday life? If so, contact RiverView Health’s Rehabilitation Services Department for assistance.

The jaw is also known as the temporomandibular joint. The temporomandibular joint is made up of several parts: the mandible (or mandible) and the socket (or temporal bone). There is a disc between the lower jaw and the socket. The disc allows the joint to slide gently when opening and closing. The joint is also held in place by muscles and ligaments. It can become painful due to injury, inflammatory disease, bad postures and habits, or stunted growth.

Temporal mandibular disorder (TMD) is the term for the complex set of disorders characterized by pain and dysfunction resulting from a problem with the jaw, TMJ, and / or the surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and jaw movement.

There are several causes of CMD, and often it is a combination of these rather than a single cause:

• Trauma, such as a blow to the jaw either directly on the joint or elsewhere on the jaw

• Overactivity of the jaw muscles – this can result from constant clenching or grinding of the teeth

• Wear and tear on the cartilage in the joint

• arthritis

• Increased sensitivity to pain related to stress

Physiotherapist Lori Hefta works with RiverView Health with patients suffering from CMD. Although CMD is not life-threatening, Hefta said that symptoms can negatively impact your quality of life over time if left untreated. Untreated CMD pain can affect your sleep, mood, eating habits, and even the way you sit and walk.

While pain is the most common sign of CMD, not everyone is in pain. Symptoms can be:

• Pain in the temporomandibular joints and facial muscles

• Clicking, grinding or locking the jaw

headache and dizziness

• Difficulty opening or closing your mouth comfortably

• Pain when speaking, chewing (especially hard food) and yawning

• Earache, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss

• Neck and shoulder pain

Hefta uses various techniques such as massage, manipulation, and movement to aid in pain relief in CMD. These practices also serve to minimize stiffness, restore normal function and mobility, and correct posture. Bad posture while sitting, standing or lying down can lead to prolonged overstretching of the ligaments and the surrounding tissue, including the jaw, according to Hefta. Learning exercises to maintain good posture can prevent or relieve neck and jaw pain.

“Spine and neck problems are often helped by assessing and treating temporomandibular joint restrictions that patients do not know may be part of their problem,” said Hefta. “For example, a patient comes to us with neck pain and the results of the CMD treatment help relieve that pain.”

For more information on physiotherapy management of CMD, call Rehab Services at 281.9463. A referral from a doctor, dentist, or chiropractor may be required depending on the situation.