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Jaw Pain- Temporomandibular Disorder

Pain in your jaw, face or teeth accompanied by ‘clicking ‘, or locking is often the result of problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). People who suffer from Temporomandibular disorders are often seen by their family physician and dentist but can also benefit from attending physiotherapy.

The Anatomy of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

The Temporomandibular joint has ligaments, muscle and a disc that work together to open and close your mouth. The muscles of the TMJ may become overworked and tight which can lead to pain around the jaw, neck or shoulders, and can also lead to headaches. The joint can become inflamed and the disc located in the joint can be pulled out of place causing ‘clicking’ or locking during opening or closing. The joint is located in front of the ear and can also cause a sensation of a clogged ear.

Treatment for Temporomandibular Disorder

After an assessment, a physiotherapist will discuss self care strategies such as soft food diet, ice and heat, trigger avoidance and posture corrections. The therapist will also explain treatment options such as modalities, joint mobilization and massage. Finally some home exercises will be given.


If you find that in the morning you are sore around the temples and cheek, this could be from clenching your jaw at night making the temporalis and masseter muscles tight. To loosen these muscles you can take the heel of hands and do ten massaging circles over the muscles and then slide the heel of your hand upwards along the muscle while opening your mouth 3 times.

If you suffer from Temporomandibular Disorder consider physiotherapy as part of your recovery.

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