TMJ Physiotherapy


The Temporomanibular Joint is the most used joint in the human body.

Each of us has two TMJs, which should work together as a team.

Jaw disorders are the most common chronic musculoskeletal disorder, second only to chronic lower back pain!

TMJs are located in front of each ear: when functioning properly, the left and right TMJ are the only joints that work coordinated as a single unit, you don’t have one jaw opening without the other. Because the TMJ uses both synchronised and 3D movements, it’s distinguished as the most complex joint in the human body.

Your TMJ is essential in every day life, from chewing, talking, kissing, and even breathing.

TMJ explained

When your TMJ isn’t properly cared for, you may be at higher risk of developing all sorts of dysfunctions, often abbreviated as TMD (Temporomandibular disorder). Recent studies show that TMD is a complex multi-systemic condition involving far more than merely the jaws and teeth. It involves the circulatory, digestive, endocrine, exocrine, immune, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, and the musculoskeletal system.

Developing TMD can happen at any age. There are several theories as to why, but the statistics are clear that this issue is much more prevalent amongst women in their 20’s-40’s.

  • On average 57% of the general population will show signs of TMD (e.g. a clicking jaw, deviation upon opening or closing, or pain upon touching the area).
  • 33% of the general population will experience TMJ pain at one point in their life.
  • 15% of the general population will develop chronic TMD / TMJ pain.

What are the symptoms of TMD?

  • Pain & Stiffness in any (or all) of the following: jaw, ears, neck and shoulders, which can lead to headaches
  • Movement disorders, incl but not exclusive to: jaw locking, popping or clicking, limited mouth opening/closing, a bite that feels ‘off’
  • Other symptoms associated with TMD can include discomfort, dizziness, stress, vision problems and tinnitus.

How can Physiotherapy treat TMD?

It’s very common for TMD patients to be treated by multiple medical professionals, such as Dentists, Physiotherapists, and Psychologists.

Your first-line of defence when it comes to treating TMJ should be Physiotherapy. It has practically no risks, and has been shown to reduce pain and improve functional outcomes for individuals with TMD e.g. increased mouth opening, chewing tougher foods, ability to talk without getting tired as quickly, etc. These results have been proven to benefit the patient both in the short-term and in the long-term, and involve no irreversible procedures. The literature is on our side with regards to the minimal risks VS high potential rewards.

There are multiple treatment modalities that can be implemented within Physiotherapy:

  • Exercise Therapy is considered a first-line treatment modality in the management of TMJ disorders. Several types of exercises that may be effective include specific jaw strengthening exercises, jaw stretching exercises, postural exercises, and general fitness exercises.
  • Manual Therapy focuses on restoring and improving your musculoskeletal system with hands-on treatment. The treatment methods within manual therapy include joint mobilisations, oscillations, gentle manipulations, harmonising techniques, neural glides, and soft tissue techniques.
  • Dry Needling for TMD is the skill of penetrating a solid needle (similar needle used in acupuncture) through the skin and underlying tissue to affect changes in physiology. Using this modality we can treat musculoskeletal disorders, pain and movement dysfunctions involving the TMJ. The Dry Needling techniques serve in your best interest as they appear to have better and safer outcomes than using surgery and splints for treating TMD.

What results can you expect from Physiotherapy?

These are three-pronged, from biological and psychological through to social.

  • The main benefit is the avoidance of surgery. Biological benefits include a gain in mobility and range of motion, the reduction (or elimination) of pain and stiffness and improved neuromuscular coordination.
  • Psychologically reduced anxiety and less disturbed sleep can lead to improved cognitive function.
  • Which tallies with the social benefits of more confidence and greater self esteem.

This service is available at Finchley Rd, Mansion House, and Monument to book a Consultation with one of our TMJ specialists please email, call 020 7036 0286 or book an appointment online below.

See below for more information on TMJ, including questions you should ask before starting treatment.

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This service is available at the following clinics:
Six Physio Finchley Rd Six Physio Mansion House Six Physio Monument
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