Just like any other area of the body, muscle strains or ligament sprains can happen around the jaw.
What is a jaw strain or sprain?
When the muscles are not able to handle the stress, it can lead to tearing of muscle fibres. Muscle strains are divided into 3 grades of severity based on the amount of muscle fibres torn.
A jaw sprain happens when ligaments surrounding the jaw are stretched through a larger range than usual.
The stretching causes tearing of the ligament fibres.
Jaw sprains and strains can begin as a small issue but if left untreated, can become a chronic and longstanding issue.
What causes a jaw strain or sprain?
- Hyperextension of the TMJ
- Lengthy dental procedures
- Intubation during a surgical procedure
- Trauma to the jaw
- Hard or sustained chewing
What are the symptoms of a jaw strain or sprain?
- Muscle stiffness
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain
- Neck pain
- Decreased jaw range of movement
- Jaw tenderness
- Change in joint function
- Jaw clicking or locking
What will treatment for a jaw strain or sprain involve?
Depending on the degree of strain or sprain and the location of injury, treatment will vary. Physiotherapy treatment may involve:
- Individualised home exercise program to improve jaw function and range of movement, manage stress, and improve posture
- Gentle jaw movement
- Ice or heat therapy
- Re-education and retraining correct jaw mechanics
- Correcting habits such as chewing and teeth clenching and grinding
- Referral to your General Practitioner (GP) for pain relief
- Night splint from the dentist – this works in similar ways to wearing a supportive bandage for ankle injury
Jaw sprain and strains are a special interest to our principle physiotherapist Bobbie-Jo Strong and she will be eager to help with your recovery. Call 07 3352 5116 to book a consultation or book online today.