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The paired joints of the jaw (or TMJ) are often the source of facial pain or headaches. Problems with the temperomandibular joint (TMJ) can also result in limited opening of the jaw and can be accompanied by popping or clicking in the jaw. Some TMJ problems arise from trauma to the face, neck or head, while some problems are more insidious and are the result of postural and other types of oral habits.
Treatment of TMJ dysfunction addresses:
- Faulty neck posture that places tension on the jaw
- Improper mouth, tongue and/or jaw positions
- Parafunctional habits: clenching, teeth grinding, gum chewing and lip biting
TMJ therapists work to restore optimal joint mechanics by using their hands to mobilize the jaw and the neck joints that are not moving properly.
Postural Correction and Exercise
When there is too much motion in the jaw or neck joints, stabilizing exercises and posture training is the treatment of choice.
Self Care and Biofeedback (link to biofeedback)
Understanding the contributing factors that are within the patient’s control is the focus of TMJ self care. Biofeedback is sometimes used to help retrain habits such as breathing, oral habits and postural tension.