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What is the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull, which is immediately in front of the ear on each side of your head. The joints are flexible, allowing the jaw to move smoothly up and down and side to side and enabling you to talk, chew, and yawn. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint control the position and movement of the jaw. ​


What causes Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)?

The cause of TMD is not always clear, but Dentists believe that symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself. Injury to the jaw, temporomandibular joint, or muscles of the head and neck can cause TMD. Other possible causes include:

  • Grinding or clenching the teeth – often stress induced

  • Overuse of the joint – gum chewing, occupation, and/or sports related activities

  • Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket joint

  • Presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis

  • Trigger points, muscle spasm

  • Trauma accident, whiplash, dental work

  • Posture – head forward

What are the symptoms of TMD?
People with TMD can experience severe pain and discomfort that can be temporary or last for many years. More women than men experience TMD, and TMD is seen most commonly in people between the ages of 20 and 40.

Common symptoms include:

  • pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide;

  • limited ability to open the mouth very wide;

  • jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open – or closed-mouth position;

  • clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth (which may or may not be accompanied by pain) or chewing;

  • a tired feeling in the face;

  • difficulty chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite – as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly

  • swelling on the side of the face; and

  • may occur on one or both sides of the face.

Other common symptoms may include toothaches, headaches, sleep disruption, neck pain, dizziness, earaches, hearing issues, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).


Treatment of TMD
Working within the client’s comfort level, the therapist works with gloves on the inside of the mouth to release muscle tension and trigger points as well as increase range of motion. This treatment takes approximately 15 minutes and is in conjunction with head, neck, face and shoulders. If this is the first time you will have this treatment it is recommended that you book for 60 minutes to include assessment.

Depending on the severity of your condition a treatment may be recommended 1-2 times a week for 2-3 weeks, which will be followed up with a reassessment. It may be necessary to consult a dentist, doctor and/or a physiotherapist to first diagnose your condition. Treatment is often very effective combined with a bite plate.

Reiki and massage 

Reiki promotes healing, recharges the Chakral energy centres along the body and provides relaxation. This technique is typically combined with your massage treatment. Aimed to evoke feelings of peace, security and emotional wellbeing, reiki promotes the connection between body, mind and spirit.

Reiki is an energy-based technique using ‘universal energy’ (or Chi) to correct energetic imbalances in the body. It is a gentle therapy, which takes a holistic approach in that it treats the whole person, emotional, physical and spiritual.

What is TMJ
What causes TMD
Symptoms TMD
Treatment of TMD
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