Do you suffer from headaches, grinding of your teeth, clicking of your jaw or even ear pain? These can all be signs of Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, also known as the temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD). This a disorder of the jaw muscles and nerves caused by injury to the TMJ, which is the joint between your jaw and skull. The injured temporomandibular joint leads to pain with chewing, clicking, and popping of the jaw; swelling on the sides of the face; nerve inflammation; headaches; tooth grinding; and sometimes dislocation of the temporomandibular joint.
TMJ can create many types of pain, and be a part of many types of other dysfunctions, including headaches, neck pain, jaw pain, sinus issues and pain into the upper back. Due to intimate connections between all of these areas of the body, they all can and do affect one another. Treatment for TMJ issues may mean treatment in all of these areas just to get the jaw to reposition and to reduce the strain at the TMJs. This can be done hand in hand with your dentist, as we utilize everything from manual therapy to dry trigger point needling and active re-education of the muscles in all of these areas to affect changes.
What causes TMJ syndrome?
Multiple factors contribute to the muscle tightness and dysfunction that characterize this condition. Most often, poor posture and neck alignment change the pull of the muscles that make your jaw move. This causes painful grinding and irritation of the TMJ. Other causes may include:
Benefits of a Manual Therapy Approach:
Our expert therapists perform thorough assessments at the first visit. Once the root cause of your problem has been discovered, a comprehensive plan can be developed to quickly relieve your pain and restore natural movement to your TMJ. Furthermore, our physical therapists will teach you techniques for regaining normal jaw movement for long lasting results.
The focus of physical therapy for TMJ is relaxation, stretching, and releasing tight muscles and scar tissue. In most cases physical therapy can resolve TMJ dysfunction and prevent the need for surgery. However, in cases where surgery is necessary, physical therapy is a vital part of the recovery process, as it helps minimize scar tissue formation, muscle tightness and allows for a complete recovery.