TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) pain/dysfunction refers to the discomfort and impairment of the jaw joint and surrounding structures. Physical therapy can play a crucial role in the management and treatment of TMJ pain/dysfunction. Assessing the individual’s symptoms, conducting a physical examination of the jaw joint and surrounding structures.
The physical therapist conducts a comprehensive evaluation to assess the individual’s TMJ pain/dysfunction. This may involve examining the jaw joint, assessing range of motion, muscle strength, posture, and identifying contributing factors such as teeth grinding or poor jaw mechanics.
The therapist utilizes various modalities and techniques to alleviate pain and reduce muscle tension. This may include heat or cold therapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, or manual therapy techniques to promote relaxation and relieve discomfort.
Hands-on techniques are employed to address TMJ pain and dysfunction. The therapist may use gentle mobilizations, soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, or trigger point therapy to release tension in the muscles and restore normal joint mechanics.
Specific exercises and stretches are prescribed to improve jaw mobility, strengthen muscles, and promote proper alignment of the jaw joint. These exercises may include tongue exercises, jaw opening and closing exercises, and resistance training.
The therapist provides education on maintaining proper posture and alignment of the head, neck, and jaw. Correcting postural imbalances can help alleviate strain on the TMJ and reduce pain and dysfunction.
In some cases, our therapists may work in collaboration with a dentist to provide a custom-made bite splint or orthotic. These devices help stabilize the jaw joint, relieve pressure, and improve the alignment of the jaw.
The therapist teaches relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and stress management to help reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation in the jaw and surrounding muscles.
The therapist provides information about the condition, triggers to avoid, proper jaw mechanics, and strategies for pain management. They also provide guidance on dietary modifications, oral hygiene practices, and lifestyle modifications to support TMJ health.
Our therapist may incorporate functional activities and movements into the treatment plan to help the individual regain normal jaw function for activities such as eating, talking, and yawning. This may involve practicing proper chewing techniques and modifying habits that exacerbate TMJ symptoms.
The therapist closely monitors the individual’s progress, provides feedback, and makes necessary adjustments to the treatment plan as needed. They offer ongoing support and guidance to ensure long-term management and prevention of TMJ pain/dysfunction.