A Physiotherapy approach to TMJ dysfunction

What is TMJ (Temporo-Mandibular Joint) dysfunction?

In North America, more than 20 % of the population suffers from TMJ dysfunction. The TMJ is the joint of the jaw, the most used joint in the human body. Many structures influence the TMJ directly such as the skull bones, the cervical spine (neck), the muscles and the fascia.

What causes TMJ dysfunction?

-Cervical dysfunction (70% of upper neck dysfunction are present with TMJ dysfunction)

-Posture (forward head posture affects muscle control, joint position and occlusion of the TMJ)

-Dental treatment, forced opening

-Muscle weakness

-Uncoordinated muscle use


-Impact to the upper body


What are the symptoms?

-Pain, tenderness around jaw affecting chewing, yawning, talking


-Limited mobility of jaw in opening, associated with neck stiffness

-Clicking, popping or any noise in the jaw

What is the treatment?

Physiotherapists use a combination of manual therapy, electrotherapy, muscular technique, correction of posture and home exercise prescription to help reduce pain while regaining mobility and function in the jaw and cervical spine.

For more information or would like to book an appointment, call Element Therapeutics at 250-344-6654.


Written by Marie-Michelle Lafontaine, Physiotherapist