The jaw is medically known as the tempromandibular joint (TMJ). It is a hinge joint that works with the use of muscles, capsule and ligaments. Disorders of this joint can cause pain around the jaw, aching in and around the ear, difficulty chewing and locking of the joint making it hard to open and close the mouth.
TMJ problems may also cause a clicking or grating sensation with mouth opening and chewing. If this causes pain or a limitation of movement then it may require treatment.
This problem may result from the disc moving out of its proper alignment, following teeth extraction or orthodontic work, damage to the cartilage or damage by a blow or other impact.
There are certain things that can improve the function of the TMJ and relieve the pain.
These include mobilizing the jaw to stretch the capsule and ligaments, massaging the muscles, avoiding foods that are hard to chew, exercises to relax the jaw and face and using hot or cold packs on the face.
If you would like further information on management or treatment for this condition contact:
Jan Naughton Sports Physiotherapy, Ph:02 94891246.
About the author:
Dr Jan Naughton received her PhD at Sydney University where she was lecturing in Sports Medicine and undergraduate physiotherapy. She specialises in shoulder injuries and has a sports physiotherapy practice in Wahroonga on Sydney's upper north shore working with two other specialist colleagues.