Vestibular and TMJ Physio
Vestibular and TMJ (Jaw) problems are the specialist area of Physiotherapist Cathy Gordon, who is the co-founder of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Temperomandibular Disorders (ACPTMD).
The Temperomandibular joint is where your jaw bone (mandible) meets your temporal bone - part of your skull
If the joint is not functioning well, it can cause
- Pain or discomfort over the joint or nearby: Pain may spread to the cheek, ear, temple or even the teeth.
- Clicking or popping: These can be normal when the joint is moved or during eating, but are relevant when there are other symptoms coming from the joint or surrounding tissues
- Locking: The jaw may just feel generally "tight" or sometimes it can become "locked", causing difficulty opening and/or closing the mouth.
- Headache: Because there is a close relationship between the jaw and the neck, some people suffer headache with TMJ problems, altered hearing or tinnitus.
To restore normal movement we may use joint mobilisations and soft tissue techniques to the facial and neck muscles. We can advise on posture and relaxation techniques and treat the neck if this is indicated
The Vestibular system includes parts of the inner ear and brain that process the sensory information involved in controlling balance and eye movements. There are a number of ways in which the vestibular system can be upset leading to symptoms of
- Vertigo and dizziness
- Lack of balance and spatial disorientation
- Visual disturbances
One of the most common causes of dizziness is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), a disorder of the inner ear resulting in episodes of intense dizziness on certain head movements. BPPV has been shown to respond very well to specialist Physiotherapy in the form of Vestibular Rehabilitation.
Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise-based programme to encourage the central nervous system to compensate for problems in the inner ear. Following a thorough examination a personal exercise programme will be developed for the sufferer to practice as a home exercise.
For more information download this information paper from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy: Click here .
Cathy with colleagues, guests of the Dutch Association of
Orofascial Therapists at their 2015 Conference