TMD / Jaw Pain

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) is an umbrella term covering acute or chronic inflammation of the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects the mandible (jaw bone) to the skull. TMD can be caused in a variety of ways. In different people, TMD can cause different symptoms which may vary from mild discomfort to severe pain. TMD is common and affects seven in ten people at some stage in their life. Dr  Chris Darby is experienced in the diagnosis and management of TMD.

Check the possible symptoms listed here:

  • Limited jaw opening.
  • Difficulty in opening the mouth.
  • Clenching and grinding teeth.
  • An uncomfortable bite.
  • Clicking, grating or popping noises from the jaw joints.
  • Pain when chewing, yawning or opening the jaw widely.
  • Pain in and around the ears and cheeks.
  • Headaches and occasionally migraine like headaches and nausea.
  • Earaches, loss of hearing or ringing in the ears.
  • Face, neck, back or shoulder pain.
  • A feeling of muscle spasms.
  • A stuck or ‘locked’ jaw.
  • Toothache.

Dr Chris Darby is a committee member of the Australian chapter of  American Academy of Craniofacial Pain (AACP).

Feeling Jaw Pain?

Try the following exercises:

1. Opening Exercise

Try to open your jaw against fist pressure for 15 seconds. Then, remove hand support and open smoothly and widely. Repeat from beginning 5 times.

2. Lateral Movement

Try to swing your jaw to the left against fist pressure for 15 seconds.

Use the left fist against the chin with the forearm parallel to the ground.

Then swing the jaw smoothly without fist pressure.

Repeat from the beginning of lateral movement, 5 times.

Change hands and repeat the above exercise but swinging to the right.

3. These Exercises should be done 3 times a day for 3 weeks. Expect in the first week that the pain may be worse, and then slowly settle.

If your jaw is painful whilst doing the exercises apply a hot flannel over the area before and after the exercises. If necessary, take two soluble aspiring or similar tablets twenty minutes before commencing the exercises.