TMJ or Jaw Pain

TMJ | Pain, and Dysfunction in the Jaw Joint and Muscles

The temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ, is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull in front of the ear. Because this muscle is used while speaking and chewing, pain in the TMJ can be very unpleasant and even debilitating. Some common symptoms of TMJ include pain in the jaw and the side of the face, difficulty opening and closing the mouth, and problems eating.

For most people, the TMJ problem is a temporary annoyance and resolves without treatment. For some, however, the pain is ongoing and treatment will be needed. The underlying causes of TMJ pain are often difficult to pinpoint. Contributing factors include bruxism (grinding teeth), stress and problems with the alignment of the teeth.

At Dynamic Physical Therapy our approach is straightforward. First, we sit down for an in-depth interview with the patient, then we perform a very detailed examination of the jaw joint and neck. The neck and jaw joints work together and both should be examined carefully in patients with jaw pain. The information from the interview and exam is used to develop a custom-designed TMJ treatment plan, generally including TMJ physical therapy. 

Even though our treatment plans are unique to each patient's condition, some common components can be identified. These include education; it is essential that patients understand what is contributing to jaw pain and what they can do to change that. Manual TMJ physical therapy is used to eliminate any restriction of movement or muscle dysfunction. Many patients with jaw pain have tight joints in either the jaw or the neck. Many also have muscles that are not performing normally which stimulation and iontophoresis can be used to reduce jaw pain and support the TMJ treatment approach. Exercise is crucial and we will select the right exercises for each patient from a series of specialized jaw and neck exercises.

Jaw pain or TMJ can be a debilitating condition. At Dynamic Physical Therapy, we welcome the opportunity to help you with this condition. Our physical therapists are expertly trained to help you and we work closely with your dentist and/or physician so you receive a comprehensive approach to your TMJ problem.

Dynamic Physical Therapy proudly serves the Northern Michigan region including Buckley, Cadillac, Gaylord, Manistee, Marion, Traverse City, and surrounding areas.