We have four primary muscles which we use when we chew our food. These are the muscles of mastication: masseter, temporalis, lateral pterygoid and medial pterygoid. If these muscles are strained, or overused, in can result in a Masticatory Muscle Disorder.
The jaw joint, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is used on average around 600 times a day. We have a jaw joint on either side of our face, and use them together, anytime we open of close our mouth to talk, chew, or yawn. Sometimes, we can overuse this joint, just like any other joint in the body. This can be because of a job that requires us to talk a lot, or because we clench our teeth together when we are stressed. If this happens, the muscles which keep our mouth closed and our teeth together become tight and may result in pain.
Muscles of Mastication
Mastication: To grind, crush or chew food in preparation for swallowing
This often comes with pain in the morning due to clenching or grinding of teeth overnight. You may also notice that you have limited motion, or that your jaw shifts with opening and closing. This often comes with tenderness to the touch of the muscles of the jaw.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, physical therapy can help to reduce the dysfunction of your jaw. During PT, the muscles with be stretched and massaged to return them to their correct state. You will be educated on ways to reduce over use of the muscles and reduce or even abolish your pain.
Call us at (240) 361 9000 to schedule your appointment today.