Your jaw is connected to your skull by the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The jawbone on each side loosely attaches to this pivot so that your mouth may move comfortably. The muscles and bone structure normally glides on the TMJ effortlessly to support daily actions such as talking and eating. Pain caused by the muscles and jaw movements are often due to disorders in the TMJ. This condition called Temporomandibular Disorder is abbreviated as TMD.
TMD may be caused by a variety of issues such as injuries to the jawline, arthritis, or simply genetics. Grinding teeth is also another common habit that may affect the TMJ. The bottomline is that it is difficult to pinpoint the exact one cause or causes. For example, not all teeth grinders develop TMD.
The symptoms associated with TMD are generally relieved using non-medical procedures outside of surgery to soothe the TMJ. Physical Therapy can offer techniques such as relaxation, stretching, heat therapy and massage. Only in the most severe cases is surgery necessary or even considered, and after surgery, Physical Therapy is especially an important part in recovery.
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