Shark Week has just ended, but we are stuck in shark mode with a blog inspired by the classic film: JAWS!
Don’t worry, our blog has no boats, water, or sharks…
Have you ever chewed a piece of gum too long or had to smile for photos for an hour or two? Your jaw muscles may have been sore and tired, maybe even tight and painful!
Perhaps this only happens to you occasionally, but for some people temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and disorders are chronic and constant. There are multiple causes for TMJ pain but a variety of treatment options for anyone suffering with TMJ issues.
TMJ disorders present in a number of ways. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms you may have a TMJ issue:
- Headaches: Severe headaches which occur frequently could be a sign of a TMJ disorder, causing the neck muscles to tighten causing tension headaches. If you haven’t had headaches before, and are experiencing them regularly now, check with your physiotherapist about a possible TMJ issue.
- Dizziness/Vertigo: The TMJ sits right before the ear -which is responsible for maintaining your balance as well as allowing you to hear. Improper jaw movement and increased force can disrupt the inner ear and causes dizziness or balance loss.
- Jaw pain: Your TMJ is the joint of the jaw bone and the skull, this is located just forward from your ears. If you have pain at or near to this site you could have a TMJ disorder.
- Neck pain: Because the jaw may be misaligned, the muscles surrounding it move differently. This can cause irritation and pain in the neck, shoulders, and face.
- Facial pain: If the jaw is misaligned, facial muscles function within a changed space which can irritate and shorten muscles causing pain.
- Lock jaw: Locked or locking jaw problems can be jaw open or closed. An open locked jaw could mean that the jaw is dislocated. Stress and tight muscles around the neck, face and jaw, as well as a damaged TMJ can cause your jaw to lock in a closed or almost closed position.
- Ear pain: Issues with TMJ can lead to problems with muscles, nerves, vessels and mechanical structures of the ears. TMJ symptoms are often mistreated as an ear problem, ear infection, pressure or a popping feeling inside your ear, or Tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
- Eye pain: A throbbing or stabbing pain behind one or both of your eyes can indicate a TMJ disorder. Pain can be steady or only during movement of the mouth, face or jaw (biting your nails or chewing gum/candy).
Leduc Physio appointments include; Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS), Intra-oral massage, or acupuncture for treatment of TMJ issues.
Intra-oral TMJ massage involves massaging jaw muscles from inside the mouth (with gloves), in addition to the cheeks, neck, and jaw. TMJ massage targets muscles used for chewing, talking, and moving the jaw that regular massage would not reach. Intra-oral massage can address pain and tightness for the symptoms above in as little as one appointment.
Pam Fouillard is one of Leduc Physio’s Registered Massage Therapists, and she is certified in Intra-oral Massage. You can add an Intra-oral TMJ massage to any appointment, just discuss TMJ problems with Pam at your next appointment!
Book your TMJ massage with her HERE.
IMS uses acupuncture needles to penetrate muscle tissue. It is used to diagnose and treat muscles that have contracted and become shortened from distress. Normal muscle tissue is painless; however, a shortened, super-sensitive muscle will ‘grasp’ the needle in what can be described as a cramping sensation.
IMS lengthens and relaxes the shortened muscles, it initiates the natural healing process by creating a small injury in the muscle, and it promotes normal nerve function in affected areas.
This relieves pain and tension in muscles of the jaw.
Any of the physiotherapists a Leduc Physio can provide TMJ treatment with IMS. TMJ treatments are booked as regular physiotherapy appointments. Your physiotherapist will discuss treatment options with you (you don’t have to have IMS).
If you are new to our clinic, book an assessment for your first appointment; you can do this HERE.
Acupuncture is a technique stemming from Traditional Chinese Medicine, specific points on the body are stimulated by inserting thin acupuncture needles into the skin.
Traditional Chinese medicine explains that health is a balance of yin and yang of the life force known as qi or chi. Qi is said to flow through meridians in the human body. Acupuncture points allow these meridians and energy flows to be accessed. Illness is said to be an imbalance of the forces. If an appropriate combination of needles are inserted into these points, the energy flow can be return to proper balance.
In Western societies and several other parts of the world, acupuncture is explained including concepts of neuroscience. Western practitioners view acupuncture points as points where nerves, muscles and connective tissue can be stimulated. Acupuncture practitioners report the stimulation increases blood flow and triggers activity of our body’s natural painkillers.
Our physical therapists: Jena Beckett, Tenielle MaGee, Jason MaGee, and Kim Hillier are AFCI acupuncturists. You can book an appointment with them HERE.
Don’t wait for your jaw pain to worsen. Pain in the jaw/face/neck can prevent sleep, disrupt focus, and can cause irritability/emotional distress. If you are suffering from clicking/popping of the jaw, stiff and sore jaw/neck muscles, tension headaches, or any of the above symptoms, book an appointment today.
You don’t need a doctor’s prescription to be treated at Leduc Physio, and we can direct bill to most extended health plans!