Understanding Jaw Pain

The Temporomandibular Joint

The jaw joint, or Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is a complex joint that is used in the processes of speaking, eating and chewing. It is not uncommon for the TMJ to be a source of pain for individuals presenting for physiotherapy in Australia, in fact the prevalence of temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJD) is between 5% and 12%.

Unusual for chronic pain conditions, the prevalence rates of TMJ disorders are higher among younger persons and are also at least twice as prevalent in women as in men.

Treatment technique for TMJD.

Treatment technique for TMJD.


Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

The measurement of facial pain and TMJD is complicated. There is no standard definition for TMJD; it is measured by asking about various symptoms that may include the likes of:

Jaw pain or tenderness

Jaw clicking / clunking

Feelings of jaw catching / locking

Tightness / Aching in the facial, forehead or ear regions

Associated headaches or neck stiffness

Teeth grinding, clenching / Bruxism

Possible facial pins and needles / tingling, may be associated with teeth pain

Some questions that can be asked to determine whether there may be involvement of the TMJ include:

Do you sometimes experience limitation in opening your mouth?

Does your jaw ever click or grind?

Have you ever been told you grind your teeth whilst sleeping?

Is chewing sometimes painful?

Do you ever experience pain around the jaw or ears?

Do you suffer from headaches?

Has your jaw ever locked?

Do you suffer from stress or stress related disorders and in the presence of stress do your symptoms increase?

Have you ever experienced trauma to or around the head, neck or jaw areas?                           

Our team of Physiotherapists can help TMJ Disorders by:

  • Relieving pain and discomfort

  • Minimising stiffness in the temporomandibular joint

  • Reducing tightness in the muscles that open and close your jaw

  • Restoring normal function and alignment of the jaw

  • Providing exercises and management strategies to minimise symptoms and flare-ups

We offer:

  • Education on activities and foods to avoid

  • Manual techniques, including intraoral release and mobilization of the TMJ

  • Advanced dry needling techniques to the orofacial area

  • Self-management strategies to improve mobility, alignment and ultimately normal

    function to the TMJ.

  • Stress management advice

Servicing Niddrie, Essendon, Airport West, Keilor & the Northern suburbs for over 40 years, you can book to see one of our expert TMJ team online here or call 93794557 to speak to one of our admin superstars.

Treatment technique for TMJD.

Treatment technique for TMJD.



Johansson A, et al: Gender difference in symptoms related to temporomandibular disorders in a population of 50-year-old subjects. J OROFAC PAIN 2003; 17:29-35.

Macfarlane TV, Blinkhorn AS, Davies RM, Kincey J, Worthington HV. Oro-facial pain in the community: prevalence and associated impact. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2002; 30: 52–60

 Pow EH et al : Prevalence of symptoms associated with temporomandibular disorders in Hong Kong Chinese. J Orofac Pain 2002; 15(3):228-34.