The temporomandibular (TMJ) is one of the most used joints in the body and is responsible for controlling movement in our jaws. Used daily, these joints are attributed to our capabilities for speech, swallowing, breathing, and eating and when the TMJ are in dysfunction, any of these activities are affected. The ligaments that help move and protect the TMJ can also cause pain. Because of this, TMJ is not only a dental concern, but also a musculoskeletal.
Some causes of TMJ dysfunction are:
- Disc displacement: the disc connected to TMJ can sublux or dislocate and cause painful clicking, popping or locking
- Arthritis: both osteo from overusing or trauma and rheumatoid due to an autoimmune problem that can affect the joint
- Muscular: repetitive auto use (bruxism, chewing gum, nails, etc.) that affects the disc and joint surfaces
- Trauma such as dental work like wisdom tooth extraction or sustained positions of TMJ during any dental procedure
TMJ dysfunction is often associated with headache pain, neck and shoulder pain due to the nerves that are found in this area of the body. Here in Downtown Physiotherapy and Health, we use a team approach to rehabilitate TMJ by involving the use of a mouth appliance fabricated by a specialized dental practitioner as an addition to physical therapy. Our TMJ physical therapy in Vancouver uses an approach that includes a full musculoskeletal evaluation and treatment including postural reeducation of the facial and neck muscles.
Downtown Physiotherapy and Health in Vancouver uses manual therapy to stretch and release tight myofacial tissues. We also help in easing mobilization of stiff joints capsules and ligaments that help increase range of motion. We are specially knowledgeable on the importance that proper exercises and ergonomic education have in preventing further problems with TMJ and in the rehabilitation process of TMJ dysfunction.