The temporomandibular joint is a hinge joint that guides jaw movement. The temporomandibualr joints, cervical spine, and muscles of mastication are common sources of pain, headache and difﬁculty with chewing and talking. Common symptoms of TMD may include: jaw pain, jaw clicking and popping with movement, jaw fatigue, decreased ability to open mouth, locked jaw, ringing in the ears, headache, dizziness, and neck pain.
TMD may be caused by a variety of inﬂuences and evaluation by a physical therapist can help to better understand and treat the symptoms. One of the reasons for TMD is poor posture. Forward head position puts strain in the muscles and ligaments of the jaw and can change resting position of the jaw altering chewing mechanics. Grinding or clenching of teeth causes sprain/strain injury to the muscle and joints surrounding the jaw. Muscle spasm in the neck can create radiating pain into the head, ear and jaw. Other common causes may include arthritis, stress, disc dislocations, post surgical symptoms, problems with teeth alignment, fracture or trauma.
How can Physical Therapy help? A thorough evaluation is completed to assess, identify and determine how to best treat the source of pain. A review of medical history and previous treatment of the head, neck, and jaw will be discussed. Range of motion is assessed in the cervical spine, jaw, and thoracic spine and limitations are noted. The therapist will palpate any involved muscles which will include the therapist placing a hand in your mouth to examine jaw muscle and movement. Posture and pain assessment will be completed. An individualized, speciﬁc treatment is then developed and discussed to alleviate pain and symptoms.
Physical Therapy Treatments for TMD:
Education: may include diet, stress management, posture positions
Manual therapy: skilled hand movement and mobilizing to restore normal joint and muscle ﬂexibility and break up scar tissues
Modalities: pain treatments such as e-stim or ultrasound
Physical Therapists are musculoskeletal specialists trained to alleviate joint inﬂammation, improve muscle mobility, and instruct in proper speciﬁc strengthening exercises. Physical Therapy treatment is conservative and in most cases covered by medical insurance. Please contact us to further discuss questions you may have regarding TMD symptoms or treatment options at 402-504-9797.
Siegmund Physical Therapy provides outstanding, client-focused physical therapy and physical rehabilitation specializing in areas that include, but are not limited to: Graston Technique, Sports Performance Therapy, Sports Rehab Physical Therapy, Sports Rehabilitation, Workers Compensation Physical Therapy, Joint Pain Therapy, Shoulder Pain Physical Therapy, TMD/TMJ and headache pain, Womens Health, and Post Surgical Rehabilitation.
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