Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction

What is it ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), is the most used joint in the body. Your TMJ’s (jaw joints) are involved in many ways such as when you chew your food, talk and breathe. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is when the jaws do not function as they are supposed to due to imbalances at the jaw muscles and joint causing pain, clicking, locking and/or abnormal joint movements.

What Causes It?

  • Displacement of the TMJ articular disc
  • Dysfunction of muscles around the jaw
  • Poor bites e.g. underbites or overbites
  • Bruxism: nocturnal grinding of teeth which increases pressure in asymmetrical movement
  • Stress
  • Poor head position while sleeping
  • Poor neck and head posture
  • Removal of wisdom teeth


The most common symptoms are:

  • Pain or tenderness of your jaw.
  • Jaw locking, making it hard to open or close your jaw fully.
  • Popping or grinding of the jaw
  • Pain around your ear.
  • Suffer from headaches, dizziness and upper neck pain.
  • Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing.
Temporomandibular Joint dysfunction

Interesting Facts

  • 75% of patients who did conservative TMJ physiotherapy treatment resolved their condition within 3 months, research by Field 2002; which is consistent with the majority of clinical tests done.
  • TMJ is at least twice as high in women as men.
  • A high incident of TMJ syndrome is in adults aged 20-40 years.
  • A study of 299 females aged between 18-60 years suggests that, compared to non-smokers, female smokers younger than 30 years had a higher risk of temporomandibular disorder than older adults.


Some of the activities you might do with your physiotherapist include:

Muscle lengthening and massage

Joint mobilisation


  • Stretching the muscles around the jaw
  • Strengthening the muscles around the jaw
  • Relaxation/Breathing exercises
  • Posture improvement

A dentist is always involved when dealing with the treatment of locked jaws and bruxism.

For all your TMJ needs, feel free to give us a call on 02 9793 8840 or Book Online