While physical therapy’s high efficacy as a treatment for soft tissue pain is well known and documented, not many people are aware that it can also be highly beneficial for those struggling with temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders.
Located in front of each ear, the TMJ is a highly complex joint that’s responsible for your ability to open and close your mouth. When the TMJ isn’t functioning properly, you may experience locking of the jaw, jaw pain, popping, or clicking. Other symptoms include dizziness sinus pain, pain or ringing in the ears, neck pain, and headaches.
Another thing worth noting is that TMJ pain isn’t strictly limited to the jaw area. It can also be caused by positioning activities or head/neck alignment.
TMJ Pain: The Common Causes
The common causes of TMJ pain include:
- Excessive grinding of teeth or clenching of jaw
- Poor posture
- TMJ disorders
- Joint stiffness
- Stress-induced muscle tension
- Other neck conditions including pain and headache
Physical Therapy as a Treatment for TMJ
Physical therapy treatment involves a detailed, in-depth assessment of the structures of the head, the jaw joints, and the cervical spine. The treatment itself could consist of manual therapy techniques for the jaw and soft tissues, the spine, exercises for the neck and jaw, and modalities.
The assessment focuses on the relationship of the joints, nerves, and muscles of the jaw, neck, face, and head, and how they relate to each other. Manual therapy can be used to enhance mobility and range of motion of the neck and jaw. Next, the purpose of the exercises is to restore the proper balance of the head and spine so that unnecessary stress on the sensitive tissues can be eliminated, and they can perform routine activities comfortably and efficiently. Modalities will reduce short-term joint discomfort and irritation.
Your physical therapist will carefully observe how you interact with your environment and identify the activities that put stress on your body which causes pain. Furthermore, you’ll be provided a home exercise program that will aid you in symptom reduction.
ProMove PT Pain Specialists is a private physical therapy center in Bethesda that specializes in physical therapy for TMJ pain and disorders. The clinic focuses on reliable treatment methods for best therapy care, under the supervision of the expert, Dr. Michelle Finnegan. Contact (301) 388-8822 for more information or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.