Understanding TMD: Symptoms, Causes, and How Physiotherapy Can Help

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders, commonly known as TMD or TMJ disorders, involve the jaw joints and the muscles controlling jaw movements. These disorders can cause significant discomfort and impair one’s ability to eat, talk, and even sleep. Here at Advantage Sport Medicine and Physiotherapy, we’re committed to helping our patients understand these conditions and find relief through effective treatment strategies.


What is TMD?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. Dysfunction in this joint can lead to a disorder known as TMD. This condition arises from problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw.


Common Signs and Symptoms of TMD

TMD symptoms can vary widely but typically include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw, especially at the joint area, which might extend to the ear, face, neck, and shoulders when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide.
  • Limited ability to open the mouth wide.
  • Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position.
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth, which may or may not be painful.
  • A feeling of tiredness in the face or difficulty chewing, which might feel as though the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly.
  • Swelling on the side of the face.


Treatment and Benefits of Physiotherapy for TMD

Physiotherapy offers a non-invasive treatment option that can significantly alleviate the symptoms of TMD. Here’s how physiotherapists at Advantage Sport Medicine and Physiotherapy address TMD:

  1. Assessment and Diagnosis: Initially, a thorough examination helps identify the root cause of the symptoms. This involves assessing the jaw movement, neck, and head posture to understand the impact of these factors on the jaw joint.
  2. Manual Therapy: Techniques such as massage and mobilization of the jaw and neck can help reduce tension, improve movement, and decrease pain.
  3. Therapeutic Exercises: Specific exercises aimed at strengthening and improving the coordination of the jaw and related muscles can help in stabilizing the jaw joint and reduce symptoms.
  4. Education on Jaw Use: Guidance on how to avoid extreme jaw movements, proper techniques for chewing, and relaxation exercises can help in managing the symptoms day-to-day.
  5. Use of Appliances: Sometimes, the use of oral splints or mouth guards can be recommended, which our physiotherapists can advise upon based on individual needs.


Benefits of Physiotherapy for TMD

Patients who undergo physiotherapy for TMD often experience:

  • Reduction in pain and discomfort.
  • Improved jaw function. 
  • Better understanding of how lifestyle, stress, and posture can affect their symptoms.
  • Techniques and strategies to manage symptoms independently.


At Advantage Sport Medicine and Physiotherapy, we believe in a holistic approach to treatment, addressing not just the symptoms but also the underlying causes of TMD. Our goal is to empower our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to achieve relief and improve their quality of life.


If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms described above, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation. Let us help you move better, feel better, and live better!