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Trismus Physiotherapy



Trismus is an uncontrolled inability or difficulty to open the mouth or jaw.

Trismus interferes with many daily activities be it

  • chewing
  • swallowing
  • talking
  • brushing teeth
  • and even breathing

The condition may be caused by dental problems, cancer and cancer treatment, surgery, trauma, or other factors. With correct intervention from our senior physiotherapists, trismus can improve in time, and full jaw function may return.

What Is Trismus?

"Trismus" is a term used to describe any number of conditions that cause an uncontrolled inability to open the mouth or jaw.

The most common cause of trismus is inflammation of the soft tissue of the mouth due to:

  • An impacted molar
  • Removal of wisdom teeth
  • Removal of the tonsils

Less common causes of trismus are:

  • Radiation therapy to the face and neck
  • Tetanus ("lockjaw"), an acute infection from bacteria that usually enter the body through a wound
  • Myositis (muscle inflammation)
  • Jaw nerve damage
  • Adhesions, or scarring, of the tissues around the jaw or tongue, which can develop after a long period of not moving the jaw
  • Muscle atrophy (wasting) that can occur after as little as 3 days of not opening the jaw
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Tumors or cancer
  • Trauma to the jaw area
  • Diseases, such as lupus and scleroderma

Trismus can occur rather suddenly in the first 9 months after radiation near the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). After that time the risk still exists, but the tightness tends to develop more slowly. Risks are greater if radiation treatments were done in the area of the TMJ or muscles involved in chewing, and particularly increase with higher doses of radiation treatment.

Trismus tends to improve slowly.

Studies suggest treatment may take from 3 to 12 weeks. Early triasmus treatment is the best way to prevent more severe problems.

Our senior physiotherapists will design an individualized treatment program based on your specific condition to

  • speed up the healing process
  • reduce the feeling of tightness in the jaw area
  • help restore your normal jaw joint movement and your ability to chew

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of trismus include:

  • Increased jaw pain
  • Inability to open the jaw (you cannot fit 3 fingers [lined up vertically] between the top and bottom teeth in the front of the mouth)
  • A "spasm" or “tight” sensation when attempting to open the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Difficulty talking
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty brushing or flossing your teeth.

If you have trismus you may be at risk for choking.

Also, because you likely can't chew food as well, you might also have to change your diet, which could mean you're not getting adequate nutrition. Even just moving food around in your mouth may be difficult because the tongue also may lose some mobility, if it is affected by trismus.

If it is not diagnosed or treated, the disuse of the temporomandibular joint may lead to atrophy or wasting of the muscles that move the jaw, and possible deterioration of the TMJ surfaces.

Your medical team may suggest additional treatments to complement our senior physiotherapist’s treatment. The use of mouth splints to help with stretching has been proven effective. Other possible options include Botox injections to relax tight muscles, and surgery to muscle, bone, or the TMJ.

How Is It Diagnosed?

During your first visit with our senior physical therapists, we will:

  • Review your medical history, and discuss any previous surgery, fractures, or other injuries to your head, neck, or jaw
  • Conduct a physical examination of your jaw and neck (especially if you have neck pain)
  • Evaluate your posture and how your neck moves
  • Examine the TMJ to find out how well it can open, and whether there are any abnormalities in jaw motion since you developed trismus
  • Consider whether you might be a candidate for an oral device to help regain motion, and refer you to a dentist

how our senior physiotherapists can help you

We can help restore the natural movement of your jaw and improve your daily function. Trismus tends to develop slowly. In some people, it progresses so slowly that they don't notice it until they can only open their mouths half-way.

Whatever point you are at, the sooner you see our  senior physiotherapists, the better, because treatment that begins before trismus progresses is likely to be more efficient and effective.

Once you have received the diagnosis of trismus, we will select the appropriate treatments to improve your jaw movement and relieve pain.

Improve Your Jaw Movement

We may prescribe stretches and range-of-motion exercises for the jaw. The instruction will include individualized frequency and intensity of movements to ensure your safety.

We will recommend specific techniques, such as stretching or self-mobilization to minimize your pain and restore function.

Physical therapists also use skilled hands-on techniques (manual therapy) such as

to gently increase movement and relieve pain in tissues and joints.

We may teach you special "low-load" strengthening exercises, which do not exert a lot of pressure on your TMJ, but can strengthen the muscles of the jaw and restore a more natural, pain-free motion.

Wealso will teach you gentle exercises that you can do at home to help you steadily increase the opening of your jaw and improve the way it works.

Relieve Your Pain

If your pain is severe, we may apply physical modalities, such as

to reduce pain and improve motion.



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book your physio appointment or enquire now

Email questions and your preferred physiotherapy timings to nigel@phoenixrehabgroup.com or

WhatsApp / SMS your name, preferred date, time and enquiries to +6588001830

Clinic Locations: See how to get to us here

Phoenix Rehab physio Services

Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.



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CLINICAL PILATES & WELLNESS PILATES

Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on

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  • balance
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  • flexibility and
  • breathing

It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries and conditions.

You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.



TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)



DEEP TISSUE RELEASE & SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY

Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to

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It also prevents muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle performance.

Done regularly, it will keeps your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence. Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.



ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).

See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.

At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.

Follow up sessions are inline to provide expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term solution.

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We do not rely on advertising - instead, we prefer and appreciate the goodwill and positive reinforcement from patients. When you have the chance, please tell your family, friends and physicians about the positive results and experience you have had in our physio clinics.

book your physio appointment or enquire now

Email questions and your preferred physiotherapy timings to nigel@phoenixrehabgroup.com or

WhatsApp / SMS your name, preferred date, time and enquiries to +6588001830

Clinic Locations: See how to get to us here