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What are the common symptoms of TMJ? Which treatments can help you?

Tue Jan 9

Temporomandibular disorders are defined as persistent pain that one experiences near the jaw, ear, or muscles on the side of the face, accompanied by a popping or clicking sound or limited jaw mobility. The temporomandibular joint or jaw joint is what people commonly associate TMD with. 

TMD, then, refers to a group of diseases characterised by pain and dysfunction of the TMJ or surrounding muscles. It's always hard to figure out what's causing these symptoms, but the good news is that most TMD cases resolve on their own with the help of conservative home therapies that many clinics offer. It is vital to exhaust all reversible options before choosing anything permanent, such as bridgework or surgery.

The TMJs are extremely intricate joints that allow three-dimensional movement. They connect your lower jaw, the mandible, to the temporal bone of your head on either side. Your lower jaw and temporal bone fit together like a ball and socket thanks to a cushioning disc in between. 

Large muscles in your cheeks and temples move the lower jaw. These components can induce TMD: the disc, muscles, or the joint itself. If you are having trouble opening or shutting your jaw, you must visit a physiotherapy clinic in Calgary for a  comprehensive examination to determine what's causing the problem and receive the best treatment options.

Cause of the TMD.

Inflammation, strained tendons and ligaments and disc problems can all affect the TMJ, just like any other joint. Physiotherapists know that genes, gender, and age influence TMD. Physical and psychological stress could play a role. In some cases, jaw pain may be linked to a more widespread, pain-inducing medical condition such as fibromyalgia.

Popping sound. 

Some people with TMD hear a clicking, cracking, or grating sound coming from their TMJ when they open or close their mouths. The disc migrating within the joint is usually the source of this. Someone standing near to you might be able to hear it. According to studies, one-third of the population suffers from clicking jaw joints. If the popping sound comes with pain or decreased jaw function, such as the jaw becoming trapped in an open or closed position, TMD is suspected.

Muscle pain.

The two large pairs of jaw-closing muscles are positioned in the cheekbones and temples. Thus this can be felt there. You may experience soreness and stiffness due to nighttime habits like clenching or grinding your teeth when you get up in the morning. If you are struggling with this type of nocturnal habit, then this can be one of the symptoms of TMJ and you will need a dentist who can make you a nightguard to reduce the force exerted on your teeth. This will allow your muscles to relax and relieve strain on your jaw joints.

Joint pain.

Arthritis of the TMJ is a term used to describe pain in one or both jaw joints. Some persons have arthritic-looking TMJs but no symptoms of discomfort or dysfunction, whereas others have many signs of pain and dysfunction, but their joints appear normal on radiography. Although there is no cure for arthritis in any part of the body, medicines can help alleviate arthritic symptoms.

Therapies that can reduce TMJ pain.

Mouthguards and oral splints.

These are the treatments that are most commonly advised. Malocclusion, grinding, and clenching may be alleviated using worn oral equipment. It can also assist in stabilising the jaw and reducing jaw pain and discomfort. Stabilising splints were proven to be useful in the short-term management of TMJ in a 2017 study by Trusted Source.

Physiotherapy for TMJ.

A physio can help you manage the underlying issues that cause TMJ using a variety of treatments. Heat and ice pack therapy and muscle release, stretching, and resistance exercises are used as treatments. Postural and jaw exercises were useful in treating TMJ in a study published in 2016 by a renowned organisation.

There are chances of eliminating TMJ dysfunction and pain with physiotherapy as it will have therapists use a range of exercises and approaches to addressing your symptoms. Exercises must improve the surrounding muscle's strength while also assisting in the joint's flexibility and mobility.

Stress management and counselling. 

TMJ can be caused by stress or anxiety-related nail-biting, clenching, and grinding activities. Counselling and self-management-based therapies, according to EvidenceTrusted Source, can be conservative and successful alternative treatments.


TMJ surgery is a drastic measure that should only be used as a last resort. TMJ parts can be repaired, relocated, and even removed and replaced in some circumstances. Jaw operations are performed under general anaesthesia and require more time to recover from.


Injections might achieve temporary relief from TMJ symptoms in the jaw. The minimally invasive procedure takes less than thirty minutes and requires no downtime. 

Injections of corticosteroids help relieve inflammation and pain in the TMJ and chronic jaw pain. Botox can potentially be used to alleviate TMJ problems. It is a neurotoxin that paralyses the jaw muscles, reducing clenching and relieving discomfort. Botox has few side effects. However, it can induce a temporary 'fixed grin' due to the toxin's paralysing action.

Arthroscopy and arthrocentesis.

Only when the above treatments have failed will more serious TMJ treatment alternatives be suggested. Although arthroscopy and arthrocentesis are minimally invasive procedures, they still take roughly a week to recuperate from. 

An orthopaedic surgeon performs arthroscopy treatments to aid in identifying TMJ issues. A small fibre-optic camera will be inserted into the jaw during the procedure. This allows the surgeon to investigate what is causing the problems in the jaw. 

Arthrocentesis is similar to arthroscopy, except it is used for both diagnosis and treatment. A tiny needle and syringe are used to remove fluid from the jaw during this treatment. Draining the fluid from the joint can assist a doctor in determining the cause of jaw swelling.

Conclusion.Treatments differ depending on the circumstances. Some people may use an oral appliance. Other people, on the other hand, require bite reconstruction. After that, many people seek orthodontic treatment. Find the physiotherapy clinic that offers TMJ treatment in Calgary as it can help you reduce your TMJ pain within a few days.