Physical Therapy for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a common condition. It affects more than 10 million people in the U.S. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) plays a vital role in our ability to eat and do daily activities such as talking and yawning. TMD can result in pain with a wide range of daily activities. It can also affect sleep. The good news is that a physical therapist can help identify and treat issues with the TMJ. You don’t have to live with it.
What is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
The TMJ is a hinge joint that connects your jaw to your skull in front of your ears. TMD is a condition that limits the natural function of the jaw.
- Jaw pain/fatigue
- Difficulty opening your mouth
- Popping sounds in your jaw
- Locking jaw
Associated symptoms include:
- Ringing in your ears
- Neck pain
What to Expect from Physical Therapy for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
A physical therapist conducts an in-depth physical exam that includes:
- Jaw tracking and neck movement/range of motion
- Soft tissue and muscle contributing to or affected by TMD
- Joint mobility
Your treatment may include:
- Posture correction
- Education on causes and daily changes you can make to alleviate pain
- Manual therapy techniques to improve and restore normal jaw movements
- Instruction on a home exercise program you can use to help manage your TMD on your own
- Pain management techniques, as needed
- Referral to other health care professionals, such as a dentist, if teeth alignment is the cause or a bite guard is needed