I’d always had a clicking jaw, nothing major and it had never bothered me. I remember reading somewhere that most people’s jaw’s click, so I never bothered about it. That was until one day I found myself unable to close it properly on the right hand side.
The problem started with dinner at a friend’s place and some rather chewing meat. Smiling I complimented him on his cooking and chewed away. I did get some immediate discomfort, but nothing to really worry about.
The next day I awoke and noticed some continuing discomfort in the right side of my jaw. I attempted to bite down and realized the when I did so, my teeth did not meet on the right hand side, and there was considerable pain. I’m busy, so I decided the best treatment would be to ignore it and wait for it to pass. Three weeks later, and not relief, I went to the dentist who twisted my jaw, looked at my quizzically, mumbled some things then referred me off to a specialist. The specialist was going to cost me $400 just for the consult, and I needed to wait 6 weeks.
Quite by coincidence I had lunch with a friend the next day whose wife is a physical therapist and whilst sipping my soup I bemoaned my sore jaw and he told me his wife had just completed some course in oral physiotherapy and that I should go and see her.
I am so glad I did.
Petra was thorough in learning of my history of jaw clicking, the cause of the acute flare up and then went on to ask questions about things such as my pillow. I like a firm, high pillow. Next the examination and treatment, at which point I was told my jaw mobility had become compromised, probably through discomfort causing muscle spasm, my chewing technique only rotating my jaw in a certain way etc.
The treatment was not painful, though its somewhat disconcerting to have someone’s hands in your mouth pushing this way and that. But the relief was amazing. I could now shut my jaw properly, even though there was lingering discomfort.
I was given exercise to do at home to continue the process of freeing up my locked jaw, smiling as hard as I could, frowning as hard as I could, opening my mouth as wide as I could then grimacing. One more manipulative treatment later and a week of exercises, and I was better than I could remember ever being. My jaw still clicks ever so slightly, but nothing like it used to.ﾠ
So don’t think your physiotherapist is there just for your sore back, or dodgy knee – physical therapy is greatly more than that.
I save myself weeks of pain, and many hundreds of dollars. I rang my dentist back to let him know the result and he admitted to not knowing that physiotherapists could treat such conditions and that he would note it for future reference.