Jaw Pain

Common Complaints, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment And How Physical Therapy Can Help

Typical Complaints

“I have pain in my teeth and/or when I chew”

“I noticed increased clicking and popping in my jaw with opening and closing”

“I have had the sensation or it has actually occurred where my jaw has been stuck open, or closed”

“My jaw is sore and painful in the morning and I grind my teeth at night”

“I have limited mouth opening”

“I have headaches, and/or pain in my neck and in front of my ear that are unaffected by medication”

Common Causes

Within all of the common causes there can be muscle imbalances or spasms that can add to the stress on the joint and can cause additional symptoms in the neck, face and ear. Research consistently shows that the following contribute to most jaw complaints:

  • Grinding teeth especially at night
  • Joint injury or trauma
  • “Locked” jaw
  • Clicking and popping jaw
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Overuse injury 
  • Postural dysfunction

Common Diagnosis

  •  Bruxism (clenching or grinding of teeth)
  • Internal derangement of the joint (clicking/popping)
  • Muscle spasm or pain
  •  Postural syndrome leading to changes in bite
  • Malocclusion (poor bite)
  •  Past dental surgery with mouth over stretched
  • Muscle strain/ligament sprains from trauma
  • Arthritis of the TMJ
  • Post-surgical that leads to a loss or an excess of motion
  •  Any traumatic injury

Common Treatments

We have a holistic approach to healing your jaw pain, which can compliment care provided by your dentist or oral surgeon to obtain pain free function without limitation. One of our main goals will be to help you realize the main stressors in your life affecting your musculoskeletal system and how this is related to your pain.

Along with skilled manual therapy, individualized stretching and strengthening and patient education, we may incorporate methods such as electrical stimulation and ultrasound. Typically our patients feel relief within 3-5 visits with a complete treatment lasting 1-2 months. Our goal is to quickly restore your function, relieve your pain and get you back to your favorite activities.

We can help relieve your pain.

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