TMJ Therapy

» TMJ Therapy

Do you suffer from headaches, dizziness, grinding of your teeth, clicking, popping or locking of your jaw, trouble swallowing, pain or difficulty chewing, jaw fatigue or deep inner ear pain? These can all be signs of Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, also known as 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.  In the United States, approximately 12% or 35 million Americans experience pain or discomfort from TMJD. 

What Causes TMJD Syndrome?

As research advances, experts now view TMJD to not have a singular cause, but is seen as more complex, taking genetic, hormonal, environmental and behavioral factors into consideration. 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:

  • Poor alignment of or trauma to the teeth or jaw
  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Poor posture
  • Stress Arthritis or other inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders
  • Excessive gum chewing

Benefits of a FYZICAL Manual Therapy Approach

The National Institutes of Health recommends that patients suffering from TMJD seek treatment from a healthcare provider, such as a Physical Therapist who understands musculoskeletal disorders and is trained in pain conditions.  

At FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers our expert therapists are trained to assess your TMJD symptoms and other areas like the neck, that may be causing or contributing to your pain or symptoms. 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 therapists will teach you techniques for regaining normal jaw movement for long lasting results.  Benefits of therapy include:

  • Decreased pain and muscle guarding
  • Increased range of motion
  • Increased postural awareness
  • Restoration of joint movement around a normal physiological axis
  • Preventing unnecessary drug use while providing treatment

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 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.