How to Treat TMJ Pain
When you are suffering from painful joints, injuries that are lasting and painful, or a disease that results in severe pain, a physiotherapist’s clinic is one of the best places to start.
A physiotherapist can help you lessen the pain associated with moving your joints. Patients recover faster from many surgeries if their recovery includes physiotherapy. It is an appropriate and most widely used tool for pain management. A less painful and more enjoyable life can be managed with arthritis or other long-term diseases like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and bone problems. Physiotherapy has even been shown to help with managing the pain in cancer patients.
Our physiotherapists focus on issues related to tender and painful tissues and muscles of the mouth. Our main area of expertise is Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD), in which issues related to the jaw and its supporting muscles are treated. TMD is commonly known as TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint).
What is TMJ?
Temporomandibular Joints are the joints that connect our jaw with the temporal bone of our skull. These are located on both sides of our head, just in front of our ears. There are muscles in our cheeks and upper neck that support the functions of TMJ’s and help us in speaking, eating, and yawning. When a problem occurs with these muscles, we feel jaw pain.
Causes of TMJ Pain
There are many factors that can cause jaw pain, either directly or indirectly. Some of the important factors responsible for TMJ pain include:
- Heavy grinding of teeth against something very hard to chew
- Dislocation of disk joining your jaw and temporal bone
- Stress that unconsciously causes someone grind their teeth too hard
Symptoms of TMJ
Here are some indications to help you determine whether or not you have TMJ, and its intensity:
- Pain and swelling in the jaw joints and face
- Inability to open your mouth very wide
- Stuckness or locking of jaws, in open or closed mouth
- A grinding or clicking sound when moving your jaw
- A feeling of tiredness in your face
- Sudden pain when chewing and eating
There are some secondary symptoms that may indicate TMJ pain like headache, neck ache, pain in ear and ringing (tinnitus), upper shoulder pain, and sometimes mild dizziness also.
Cold Laser Therapy for Treating TMJ
There are many different physiotherapy and medical treatments available for TMJ pain. These can include drug-free treatments, pharmaceuticals, and invasive treatments. All of these either have proven side effects or are painful for the patient, who is already in pain.
Cold laser therapy is a technique by which TMJ can be treated painlessly and without side effects. Cold laser therapy acts by stimulating chemical action within cells and initiating the self-healing mechanism. Here are some of the ways in which cold laser therapy treats TMJ:
- CLT produces endorphins that kills pain
- Crushes the inflammatory enzymes and reducing redness, heat, and pain.
- Increases lymphatic drainage, enhances blood circulation, and speeds up healing
- Relaxes muscles
- Stimulates osteoblastic and fibroblastic proliferation