TMJ/TMD Treatment

What is TMJ/TMD

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMD), commonly called “TMJ,” are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. It is also common for there to be an association with neck and headache pain. The condition appears to be more common in women than men. 

For most people, pain in the area of the jaw joint or muscles does not signal a serious problem. Generally, discomfort from this condition is occasional and temporary, often occurring in cycles. 

Disorders of the jaw joint and chewing muscles—and how people respond to them— vary widely. Researchers generally agree that the conditions fall into three main categories: 

• Myofascial pain involves discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function. 

• Internal derangement of the joint involves a displaced disc, dislocated jaw, or injury to the condyle. 

• Arthritis refers to a group of degenerative/ inflammatory joint disorders that can affect the temporomandibular joint.

Common Signs and Symptoms

• Jaw pain/stiffness 

• Headache or neck pain 

• Toothaches 

• Pain opening your mouth or when you bite down 

• Difficulty chewing, talking or yawning 

• Clicking, grinding or popping in one or both joints 

• Ear pain or feelings of stiffness/”fullness” in one or both ears 

• Change in the way upper and lower teeth fit together

Effective Treatment

• Manual therapy techniques including soft tissue and/or joint mobilization procedures;

• Modality treatments including ultra-sound and/or electrical stimulation;

• Exercise programs may include exercises designed to improve mouth opening, neutral jaw position, promote relaxation, and/or improve spinal and jaw posture; 

• Patient education related to potential contributing factors to TMD such as postural habits, sleep positions and habits, anatomical/biomechanical dysfunctions, and

• Learning preventive techniques and how to spot the early warning signs to reduce the risk of recurrence and effective pain



___ 1) Do you have pain when you open wide, close your mouth, or bite down?

___ 2) Do you have difficulty with chewing, talking, or yawning?

___ 3) Do you experience a clicking, popping, or snapping in your jaw when you open wide, close your mouth or bite down?

___ 4) Do you notice a clogging, fullness, or pressure in your ears that comes and goes? 

___ 5) Do you have pain or stiffness of the neck?

___ 6) Do you lack the ability to comfortably fit 2-3 knuckles between your top and bottom front teeth? 

If so, talk to your dentist or physician and consider a referral to physical therapy. We believe that good communication between providers and patients is an integral part of quality medical care.

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