I have a particular interest in the treatment of TMJ – a highly debilitating condition which can manifest itself not only in the classic symptoms of jaw and facial pain, but also in chronic headaches and migraines.
TMJ is not a condition to be dismissed lightly. Not only is the pain frequently constant and acute resulting in high levels of tension and snappishness, which makes life miserable for people around the sufferer, as well as the sufferer themselves, but it can also damage the complex structure of the jaw and lead to even more severe problems.
The structure of the jaw means that any long-term reduction of blood flow causes irreversible damage to the jaw and can cause major dental problems as well as the obvious pain. For these reasons, any unexplained jaw or facial pain is not something to be endured or ignored, but something to be taken seriously and treated quickly.
The other side of TMJ – and the thing I find most exciting – is the fact that in all my years of treating patients with TMJ I have not yet seen a person who did not respond. Watching a person restored from a housebound bundle of pain and misery, who hated herself because she was always snapping at her well-meaning family and friends, to her former outgoing, hardworking and productive self makes any job worthwhile – and this is just one of the miracles I’ve seen!
What is TMJ?
TMJ is a complex condition which is more common in women than men, but can be seen in either sex. It can affect either the upper or lower jaw and can affect a person’s ability to speak, chew, smile or laugh. Medical science is still debating the precise cause of TMJ, but there is no doubt of its impact on a sufferer’s quality of life.
How Does Physiotherapy Treat TMJ?
The jaw muscles are unique because of their power, and their direct connection to the spine, brain and facial muscles. Because of this connection it is possible to do more damage if treatment is not taken slowly and carefully.
When you undergo TMJ physiotherapy treatment you don’t get instant freedom from pain – because the muscles need to be slowly relaxed and retrained or you will have severe secondary problems. Most patients find significant improvement with a week or two. When a patient’s main symptom is headaches, the frequency and severity can diminish very quickly.
Who Refers Patients For TMJ Physiotherapy?
Many dentists recommend TMJ physiotherapy in addition to wearing a splint, because they recognise that the splint treats the symptom, without addressing the underlying cause. Although most patients continue to wear their splint many do so as in insurance against further damage rather than because they are still in pain.
What Are The Symptoms of TMJ?
You might have TMJ if any of the following are familiar:-
- Frequent jaw or facial pain;
- Clicking jaw;
- Chronic headaches;
- Teeth Grinding or snoring during sleep;
- Whiplash or other impact to the head or neck;
- And many more.
If you experience any of these symptoms, or have been diagnosed with TMJ and want relief then call today and make an appointment to see me. My list of successful recoveries is long – and growing longer.