TMJ Physical Therapy Treatment
What is TMJ Therapy?
TMJ stands for “Temporomandibular Joint” which is the joint that links your lower jaw to your skull. It’s common to refer to jaw pain as “having TMJ,” but this is a bit of a misnomer. What they’re referring to is a condition known as TMD, or Temporomandibular Disorder, causing symptoms in the TMJ such as pain or discomfort in the jaw area. Every person with a normal jaw has a “TMJ.” It’s not a condition but a part of your body’s anatomy.
TMJ therapy, also known as TMJ physical therapy, is a specialized form of treatment aimed at alleviating the pain and discomfort associated with TMD. In many cases, TMD is temporary, and with the right nonsurgical treatments, symptoms can be effectively managed or even eliminated.
Ignoring the signs of TMD is not advised. If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to long-term discomfort and potentially affect the alignment of your upper and lower teeth. If you notice any persistent discomfort or changes in your jaw’s movement, it’s important to seek professional advice.
When is TMJ therapy recommended?
TMJ therapy is recommended for individuals experiencing symptoms of TMD. These symptoms may include, but are not limited to:
- TMD pain or discomfort in the jaw joints area, face, or near the ear,
- Difficulty or discomfort while chewing
- Aching facial pain
- TMD symptoms such as popping, clicking, or locking of the jaw joint
- Pain when yawning, laughing, or eating
- Neck pain or headaches
What Does TMJ Therapy Treatment Involve?
TMJ therapy involves a comprehensive approach that tackles the symptoms and underlying causes of TMD. Your therapist will evaluate you based on your specific, individual needs to create a customized treatment plan. This plan may include hands-on soft tissue mobilization, strengthening exercises for the jaw and neck muscles, and postural exercises. Each of these techniques plays a crucial role in relieving pain, improving jaw movement, and enhancing overall function.