One in four people suffer from TMJ Syndrome. The TMJ is the Temporo-mandibular Joint, which is the joint connecting your lower jaw and your skull. The movement in this joint allows you to open and close your jaw and chew from side to side. Muscle spasm in the muscles connected to the jaw can cause symptoms such as headache, pain behind your eyes, sinus pain and pain in the neck and shoulders.
Some patients clench or grind their teeth either caused by anxiety, or when concentrating on a task, or more commonly, during sleep. This aggravates the muscles around the TMJ. Generally, patients wake up with a stiff jaw and/or a headache.
It is important to see your dentist to rule out any problems withyour bite and teeth. Physiotherapists can be very helpful in assessing TMJ problems.
Physiotherapy treatment may include gentle TMJ mobilisations, trigger points, acupuncture and a home exercise programme to gently stretch these muscles. If the TMJ is the cause of the headache and jaw pain, improvement tends to be rapid following physiotherapy treatment, thereby reducing the worry and fatigue that goes with headaches and pain.