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Lady getting treatment

Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) is a general term that encompasses disorders that affect the jaw joints (tempomandibular joints – TMJ), jaw muscles and the nerves associated with chronic facial pain. Any problem that disrupts the muscles and joints from hinging and sliding in this unique and complex joint can cause pain and dysfunction.

Normal function of the TMJ involves talking, eating and yawning. Disorders at this joint affect approximately 33% of the population and can have a significant impact on the quality of life. Due to the complexity of the TMJ, a collaborative approach between your Dentist and Physiotherapist can provide the most successful outcome. Physiotherapists are ideally positioned to treat TMD because of their knowledge of muscles and joints combined with hands-on skills to treat dysfunction.


Symptoms of TMD
Limited Movement of the Jaw
Painful Noises
Ringing in the Ears
Dizziness (Vertigo)
Pain & Stiffness
Symptoms of TMD are variable and are most commonly arrevated by eating, clenching and stress.
Limited Movement of the Jaw
This may feel like a tight feeling or a sensation of the jaw getting stuck.
Painful Noises
Some noises can sometimes be heard from the jaw when you chew or move your mouth.
Ringing in the Ears
Because the jaw is very close to the ear, some people develop ear symptoms.
Dizziness (Vertigo)
A sensation of spinning that is related to problems with the inner ear.
Pain & Stiffness
Symptoms mary vary with pain in other areas like the chin, ear, temple or neck.


Adding to the complexity of TMD, there can be a number of factors contributing to the cause.

  • A direct injury to your jaw
  • An indirect injury to your jaw like a car accident
  • Certain illnesses or conditions, like arthritis
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth
  • Your jaw not lining up the way it should
  • Inflammation in the muscles around your jaw
  • Emotional stress can cause increased sensitivity to pain in your jaw


At Fifth Ave physio all of our therapists have additional post-graduate training to manage jaw pain. Fortunately, a trained physiotherapist can help by teaching you relaxation, stretching and strengthening exercises for your jaw and neck muscles. Your Physiotherapist will always be in contact with your dentist and/or specialist to coordinate your treatment.

Your program may include the following:

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises of the jaw and neck
  • Relaxation and breathing exercises
  • Manual stretches and mobilizations of the jaw and neck joints
  • Intramuscular stimulation of the jaw and neck muscles
  • Education on strategies for pain management
  • Training to improve posture and correct jaw alignment


A detailed assessment. Your physiotherapist will take time to hear your story to fully understand your condition.

Your Physiotherapist will assess:

  • Jaw and neck range and quality of movement
  • Muscle imbalances and tightness
  • Any joint-related problems
  • Posture and upper trunk strength

When we complete our assessment we will:

  • Explain our findings so you have an understanding of your condition
  • We will provide a detailed treatment plan so you understand the path to recovery
  • We will send you videos of your exercises and provide strategies to get you to your goals


Wright EF, North SL. Management and treatment of temporomandibular disorders: A clinical perspective. The Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy year; 17(4):247-254.

Armijo-Olivo S, Pitance L, Singh V, Neto F, Thie N, Michelotti A. Effectiveness of manual therapy and therapeutic exercise for temporomandibular disorders: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Physical Therapy 2016; 96(1):9-25.

McNeely ML, Armijo Olivo S, Magee DJ. A systematic review of the effectiveness of physical therapy interventions for temporomandibular disorders. Phys Ther. 2006;86:710–25.