TMJ, or temporomandibular disorder is a condition that is characterized by pain and dysfunction of the jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles. It may appear after an injury to the head, after having dental or orthodontic work or associated with having the mouth open for extended periods of time. It can also be a reaction to eating chewy foods or gum or grinding your teeth at night.
Although there is no one clear cause of TMJ, physical therapy can ameliorate the need for medication or surgery by relieving pain. Individual treatment plans focus on reducing inflammation, releasing muscle spasms, mobilizing the joint to increase range of motion, and strengthening the joint.
Symptoms of TMJ include:
- Pain in the region around the ear when talking or chewing hich may be accompanied by a clicking or clunking sensation
- Muscle spasms in the facial or neck muscles.
- Dull ache in jaw area
- Inability to open mouth (lock jaw)
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