Treating temporomandibular disorder (TMD) with physical therapy is an effective method to relieve pain and discomfort. When you come to North 40 Physical Therapy for your physical therapy evaluation and treatment, you can expect your therapist to analyze your jaw mobility and release muscle tension in the head and neck region. Our physical therapy team will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your TMD, neck, thoracic spine and shoulder girdle to determine the structures causing TMJ symptoms. Our patients are receiving immediate relief with physical therapy.
Simply stated, the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull. More specifically, they are the joints that slide and rotate in front of each ear, and consist of the mandible (the lower jaw) and the temporal bone (the side and base of the skull). According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the TMJs are among the most complex joints in the body. These joints, along with several muscles, allow the mandible to move up and down, side to side, and forward and back. When the mandible and the joints are properly aligned, smooth muscle actions, such as chewing, talking, yawning, and swallowing, can take place. When these structures (muscles, ligaments, jaw bone, mandible, TMJ) are not aligned, nor synchronized in movement, several problems may occur.
TMD is any disorder of the jaw muscles, temporomandibular joints, and/or the nerves associated with chronic facial pain. Any problem that prevents the complex system of muscles, bones, and joints from working together in harmony may result in temporomandibular disorder.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), classifies the categories of TMD by the following criteria:
Most oral health professionals will agree that the primary cause of this disorder is excessive strain on the muscle group that controls chewing, swallowing, and speech. This strain may be a result of bruxism (incessant clenching of the teeth), or from physical or mental stress. These factors may be the cause, in most cases, or may aggravate an existing condition of TMD.
The following are the most common symptoms of TMD. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of TMD may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult a dentist or your physician for a diagnosis.
Specific treatment for TMD will be determined by your physician, dentist or physical therapist based on:
For more information request a consult from one of our many locations today!