What is it?

Pain in the complex jaw joint does not usually show up in isolation. There are many symptoms that present in a variety of combinations.  In addition to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, symptoms may include: clicking with opening/closing of the jaw, headaches, referred pain to other regions of the face, pain with chewing or yawning, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and difficulty opening the jaw sufficiently.  It is also fairly common as approximately 10-30% of the adult population have at least one TMD symptom.  

What can be done?

Those suffering from jaw pain and the associated symptoms usually require treatment that addresses the muscles and joint in combination with a home program for management.  Most commonly, physiotherapists and chiropractors with specific training treat the muscle injuries with a combination of methods including soft tissue therapy, ultrasound, stretching and exercises.  The neck and jaw are also linked anatomically, therefore it is often essential for your therapist to address the neck position and overall spinal posture for a successful recovery.  

A systematic review in 2016 concluded that a combination of manual therapy (cervical and/or jaw), posture exercises, and exercises for the jaw were effective at improving mouth opening and to help patients to adapt to their dental night guards.  Dentists may also choose to administer Botox injections to work in conjunction with the treatments listed above.

How long does it take?

This varies a lot depending on the case.  Generally, a chiropractic or physiotherapy treatment plan for jaw issues will often start with 2-3 times weekly, slowly decreasing the frequency of treatments as improvement is observed. The initial frequency of treatments is important for cumulative results of soft tissue therapies and to assess patient progression with home exercises and habit-changing.  Many patients begin to see improvement within 2-3 weeks.

Questions?  Book a free consult with Dr. Ashraf to help answer any questions and to find out what could be the most appropriate treatment course for you.

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