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Jaw Pain (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) and Temporal Headache

Reena Babu, MPT, RPT - Registered Physiotherapist, Pelvic Floor & Vestibular Rehabilitation Practitioner

jaw pain tmj

Often people complain of a temporal headache when they wake up in the morning or at the end of the day. They may also experience clicking of the jaw, restricted mouth opening, and difficulty eating. These may or may not be accompanied with pain in the jaw. Oftentimes people ignore these symptoms if there is no pain. My goal of this article is to provide more information about Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (aka Jaw Disorder) and how Physiotherapy can help.

Anatomy

The mandible holds the lower teeth and is the strongest bone of the skull. It is located beneath the maxilla. The mandible is the only movable bone of the skull and is connected to the temporal bone by the temporomandibular joint.


The two movements of the jaw are - rotation and translation, that occur with the opening and closing of the mouth. The normal range of opening of the mouth is 35-40mm. If the range is less than 30mm it is considered a hypomobile joint and more than 40mm is a hypermobile joint.

Causes of Jaw Pain

Below are a few causes of Jaw Disorder, some of which may be considered controversial:

1. Depression, anxiety or stress

2. Hormonal changes like increased estrogen and decreased testosterone levels in women

3. Trauma resulting in whiplash injury or direct blow to the mandible

4. Bruxism (clenching the jaw/teeth grinding), chewing gums or nail biting

5. Hypermobile joints

Temporal Headache

A headache in the temple area that can be a result of overuse of the jaw/neck muscles, lack of sleep or bruxism.

Physiotherapy Management

1. Mobilizing the temporomandibular joint

2. Soft tissue release

3. Home exercise

4. Education regarding the condition and instructions on the dos and don’ts of the symptoms

To learn more schedule a free 15min consultation with Reena by calling 905.465.4595 or book online at wellnessforthebody.com.

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