It probably sounds like a weird question, but a lot of patients who present with jaw pain often don’t open their mouth straight. This happens because both the left and right temporomandibular joint (TMJ) have to contribute to the motion equally to keep a straight alignment while opening.
How do I know if my jaw isn’t opening straight?
Simple, just look. While standing in front of a mirror open your mouth and see if the gap between your two front teeth lines up with the gap between your two bottom teeth. (see example picture).
However, don’t fret if your alignment isn’t perfect. An imperfect opening doesn’t always lead to TMJ pain but if you are feeling any pain or clicking around your jaw it is worth trying to correct.
How can physiotherapy help improve my jaw opening?
Our physiotherapists have completed additional study on TMJ to offer a specialised treatment. We understand the complex kinetics of jaw movement and through an assessment can determine the cause of your abnormal jaw movement.
Depending on the cause of this abnormal movement treatment will vary.
There may be an incoordination or strength difference between the muscles on the left & right of your TMJ. Your physiotherapist will prescribe appropriate exercises to correct this deficit.
Alternatively, muscular or soft tissue inflexibility could be the cause of your abnormal movement. In this case your physiotherapist will apply their skilled hands on techniques and teach you how to continue this treatment yourself at home.
We’ve just recently filmed a video for how to release your jaw musculature yourself.
If you are seeking guidance for your jaw pain, clicking or abnormal movement then phone Wellers Hill Physiotherapy on 07 3892 7501.