Physical Therapy Can Alleviate Pain From TMJ Dysfunction
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction commonly presents with difficulty chewing
or yawning, jaw pain, or a clicking noise when opening and closing the mouth. TMJ
dysfunction is a condition that causes pain and stiffness of the jaw joint and its
"Symptoms of this TMJ dysfunction include pain in the jaw, jaw popping, headaches,
sore jaw muscles, locking of the jaw, pain in the temple, and earaches."
This joint is where your jaw bone attaches to the skull. It is a complex joint that has to slide forward and drop down in order for your jaw to open. It moves thousands of times a day with talking, eating and any time you move your jaw. The joint has a disc or fluid filled sac within it and has many ligaments and muscles that coordinate movements.
The TMJ relies heavily on proper posture and alignment to function well. The posture and positioning of the neck and head play a large role in the pulls of muscles on the TMJ. Abnormal muscle pulls can lead to altered movement of the TMJ and thus pain.
Symptoms of this TMJ dysfunction include pain in the jaw, jaw popping, headaches, sore jaw muscles, locking of the jaw, pain in the temple, and earaches. There are many reasons why TMJ dysfunction may develop, but some common causes include misalignment of the teeth, gum chewing, arthritis, teeth grinding, or a jaw injury.
The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull. If there is an injury to this joint or it becomes damaged in any way, TMJ dysfunction may develop. It’s important to realize that the temporomandibular joint is a complex and important structure comprised of bones, tendons, and muscles that may cause you to feel pain on one or both sides of the jaw.
Physical therapy helps TMJ sufferers in a number of ways. Our therapists work with you to determine the exact mechanisms of your TMJ and where you have poor alignment of the TMJ, neck and head. By improving posture, movement and function, the normal muscle balance and movement of the TMJ can be restored.
Physical therapy may include manual therapy, dry needling, stretching and active exercises of shoulder, neck and pericranial muscles, cranio-cervical exercises, and postural correction.
The most significant role a physical therapists can play is addressing the root cause of your pain and work with you to improve your overall health.
If you are suffering from TMJ dysfunction, or you think you might be, contact Athletic Advantage Physical Therapy today to schedule an appointment and find relief.