When you're experiencing jaw pain, you may find it difficult to relax. You may hear your dentist or doctor refer to your pain as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. As the joint that allows your jaw to hinge from your skull and open your mouth, it goes through a lot of work each day. Alongside pain, you may find that it's difficult to open your jaw fully, and you might have difficulty with speaking and chewing. If you're ready to resolve your pain, here's how physiotherapy can help.
Addressing Key Muscles
Did you know that the pain in your jaw can arise from muscles that are as far down as your shoulder or your chest? Your platysma muscle runs from your chest through to your jaw. Similarly, your sternocleidomastoid muscle runs from the tip or your clavicle through to your jaw. Your muscles rarely act in isolation. As such, when something is causing strain on one of them, the others can feel the impact. Your physiotherapist can assess the muscles that directly and indirectly affect your TMJ. If they find that something is causing tension, they'll address the issue to relieve it.
Introducing Relaxation Exercises
Without realising it, you may be tensing your jaw. This can happen when you're going through periods of stress. Similarly, you may be holding your supporting muscles in a tense way or tensing your mouth as you fall asleep. During your physiotherapy sessions, you'll learn about relaxation exercises that can lessen the pressure on your jaw. If it appears that you're tensing your jaw in your sleep, your physiotherapist may discuss using devices that stop you from doing so. You may also try jaw movement exercises that lessen the strain on your muscles.
Trying Alternative Therapies
A little bit of massage can go a long way when it comes to TMJ pain. However, for it to be effective, you need to do it right. During your sessions, your physiotherapist will guide you in using massage and assess your technique. Once they're confident you have it right, you'll be able to try it at home to experience relief there. They may also suggest therapies such as laser treatments for healing any broken cartilage and stimulating new cells that soothe your muscles. Over time, a combination of therapies should result in you experiencing less pain.
With a regular commitment to physiotherapy, you can say goodbye to jaw pain and experience a comfier way of life.