TMJ Therapy

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What is TMJD? 

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD) is a general term for a group of conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint — the joint on each side of your head in front of your ears, where your lower jawbone meets your skull. This joint allows you to open and close your mouth. TMJD is characterized by pain of the jaw joint that is made worse during or after eating or yawning. It can cause limited jaw movement and clicks and pops during chewing. In severe cases, pain can radiate into the neck, shoulders and back. Approximately 35 million people in the United States suffer from TMJ problems at any given time.

Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorders May Include:
•    Pain or tenderness of your jaw
•    Aching pain or pressure in and around your ear
•    Pain in the neck and shoulders
•    Difficulty chewing or discomfort while chewing
•    Aching facial pain
•    Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
•    Jaw muscle stiffness
•    Headache
•    A bite that feels "off"

Why Choose Physical Therapy? 

Scientists strongly recommend treating TMJD with the most conservative approaches possible, including physical therapy interventions. These are treatments that do not cause permanent changes in, or change the structure or position of, the jaws or teeth. Even when these disorders have become persistent, most patients still do not need aggressive types of treatment as research has shown that irreversible aggressive treatments may even make the problem worse.

Physical Therapy Interventions Include:
• Relaxation techniques
• Movement control retraining.  
• Postural correction. 
• Hands-on techniques.  
• Education of self-management. 

What to Expect at Your First Appointment

During your Initial Evaluation, your physical therapist will likely:
•    Listen to and feel your jaw when you open and close your mouth
•    Observe the range of motion in your jaw
•    Examine your bite to check for abnormalities in the alignment of the jaws
•    Check for conditions — such as a high filling, teeth displaced due to earlier loss of other teeth or certain inherited characteristics — that can cause misalignment of your jaw
•    Examine your teeth for wear patterns that would indicate chronic grinding
•    Press on areas around your jaw to identify sites of pain or discomfort
•    Ask questions about your level of stress or anxiety and how you're coping

Meet your TMJD Therapists!