Find Relief for TMD Pain
TMD, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, occurs when the hinge connecting the upper and lower jaw isn’t working properly. This hinge is one of the most complex joints in the body, responsible for moving the lower jaw forward, backward and side-to-side.
When you have TMD, it feels like your jaw is popping or clicking or even getting stuck for a moment. The exact cause of this misalignment is often impossible to determine. At IMPACT Physical Therapy, we can develop a program for you that includes techniques for regaining normal jaw movement.
TMD disorders have many signs and symptoms. Your dentist can diagnose TMD by taking a complete medical and dental history and appropriate X-rays.
Some of the most common TMD symptoms include:
- Headaches that can feel like often mimicking migraines, earaches, and pain or pressure behind the eyes
- A clicking or popping sound when you open or close your mouth
- Pain from yawning, opening the mouth widely or chewing
- Jaws that “get stuck,” lock or go out
- Tender jaw muscles
- A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
TMD Treatment & Focus
The focus of physical therapy for TMD is relaxation, stretching, and releasing tight muscles. Physical therapy is an important part of recovery from TMD, as it helps relieve muscle tightness.
Physical therapy techniques may include:
- Jaw exercises to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility and range of motion.
- Heat therapy to improve blood circulation in the jaw.
- Ice therapy to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
- Massage to relieve overall muscle tension.
- Training to improve posture and correct jaw alignment.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which is the application of a mild electrical current to the skin over the jaw joint. This electrical current interferes with the body’s pain signals. TENS relaxes muscles, improves blood circulation, and relieves pain.
- Movement of the temporomandibular (TM) joint to release scar tissue that restricts muscle movement and to improve range of motion.
- Ultrasound therapy, which uses high-frequency sound waves directed to the TM joint, to reduce pain and swelling and improve circulation.
Physical therapy is frequently used in combination with medicine, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or muscle relaxants. It may be recommended if symptoms are not relieved with home treatment and are related to muscle tension, and it Is used after surgery to promote healing and reduce pain and swelling.
The therapists at IMPACT Physical Therapy have extensive experience in techniques to relieve the pain of TMD. If you are suffering with jaw pain of any kind, contact us to get the relief you need.