Headaches / TMJ Disorder

Headaches / TMJ Disorder

The jaw joint, or Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), is where the jaw bone hinges to the skull at the temple, just in front of the ear. Signs and symptoms of a TMJ Disorder or TMD may include:

This issue is common with about 1 in 4 people have symptoms in the jaw joint at some time in their lives. Causes of TMD include the following:

A TMJ Disorder may result with problems linked to the muscles working the joint and problems inside the joint itself. The causes of TMD may result from many reasons including the following:

TMD from Bad Posture

As we sit at a desk over a great deal of time, we often hold our heads too far forward. Additionally, sitting in the car for a long commute, working at a checkout station, always carrying your child on the same hip, can place the head in an awkward position and cause jaw problems. The “forward head position” puts a strain on the muscles, disk, and ligaments of the TMJ.

TMD from Chronic Jaw Clenching or Bruxism

Many people clench their jaws at night while they sleep, usually because of stress. Some clench their teeth throughout the day as well, especially when dealing with stressful situations. This puts a strain on the TMJ and its surrounding muscles.

TMD from Teeth Misalignment or Malocclusion

If your teeth are positioned in an unusual way, greater stress is placed on the TMJ when performing everyday jaw motions, such as chewing.

TMD from Jaw Fracture

In a traumatic accident involving the face or head, a fracture to the lower jaw may result in a TMD. Even when the fracture is fully healed, TMJ stiffness and pain may remain.

TMD from Face / Jaw Surgery

Individuals may experience a loss of TMJ mobility and function following certain kinds of surgery to the face and jaw.

TMD from Lockjaw or Trismus

Lockjaw causes the jaw muscles to spasm and the jaw cannot be fully opened, causing symptoms of TMD. Other causes of trismus include trauma to the jaw, tetanus, and radiation therapy to the face and neck.

TMD from Displacement of the TMJ disc

Displacement of soft-tissue cushion located between the ball and socket of the TMJ may cause popping or clicking of the jaw as well as pain.

TMD from Arthritis in the TMJ

Infectious arthritis, traumatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and secondary degenerative arthritis can affect the temporomandibular joint.

If you have persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw, recurring headaches, or if you can’t open or close your jaw completely, you should seek treatment. Our physical therapist can perform hands-on techniques to align the jaw and craniofacial bones, resulting in smooth and painfree motion, as well as develop a program for you that includes learning and practicing techniques for regaining normal jaw movement. If we can be of assistance in diagnosing and treating your TMJ disorder, please contact us via email or by calling (303) 536-1949.