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Physical Therapy for TMJ Disorder

Problems in the jaw can be very debilitating and can wear on a person over time. TMJ disorder involves an array of issues that can occur in the jaw area, but the friendly staff at Impact Medical Cutler Bay is here to inform you on how to identify your symptoms and how physical therapy can help you!

What Is TMJ Disorder?

The temporomandibular joint, also referred to as TMJ, is located on both sides of the face in front of the ears. It includes the jaw joints along with the corresponding muscles and ligaments which connect the lower jawbone to the skull and allow us to perform actions such as chewing and speaking. The TMJ can undergo various traumas which become the reason for many unwelcome symptoms, thus causing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

How Do I Know I Have TMD?

TMD Can have many underlying causes, most of them coming with the passing of age. Arthritis can occur in that area, general stress and trauma can be enough to cause symptoms, or an unfortunate dislocation of the joints can lead to TMD. Even bruxism, the grinding and clenching of the teeth, can create tension and evolve into pain or discomfort.

Symptoms of TMD include:

  • Lockjaw
  • Jaw tenderness, fatigue, or pain
  • Clicking or popping sounds in the jaw
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Swelling
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Facial pain

How Can Physical Therapy Help TMD?

Since TMD is mostly caused by tension, trauma, or stress in the jaw, proper treatment involves relaxation techniques commonly found in physical therapy practices. PT offers a variety of methods to fine-tune your healing process in the most efficient way.

Relieving Muscle Tightness

If you suffer from bruxism, you tend to tighten your jaw muscles which can lead to extreme fatigue. Physical therapy can help train you to relax your jaw to relieve pressure. Stretching also plays a hand in regaining strength and finding relief.

Healing With Temperature

Using extreme temperatures to your advantage can treat a number of symptoms. Heat therapy is great for regulating blood circulation which is needed to bring warmth to the jaw for relaxation and ice therapy can reduce any swelling or pain in the affected area.

Practicing Good Posture

Posture actually has a role in how your jaw naturally sets. If you’re constantly subjecting your body to bad posture, it can cause your jawbones to come out of proper alignment. Physical therapy can help you adopt the habit of good posture to keep your jaw in place and prevent locking, popping, and cramping.

Regaining Jaw Movement

When you experience lockjaw or tight muscles, it hinders your ability to perform regular movements like eating or talking. Physical therapy can help you regain movement in your jaw by lessening the stress in your face which can also help ease pain.

What Kind of Physical Therapist Do I Need?

For TMJ disorder, it’s best to find a physical therapist who specializes in craniofacial-focused musculoskeletal problems. The trained professionals at Impact Medical Cutler Bay have seasoned specialists who can help you with all your TMD symptoms. Give us a call at 305-363-7446 to schedule an appointment today!