Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD or TMJ disorder) affects millions
of Americans. If you’ve been diagnosed with TMJ disorder, then you
likely suffer from mild to severe jaw pain, muscle tension of the lower
facial region, headaches, and perhaps even dizziness. TMJ disorder can
lead to malnutrition when it becomes difficult to open the jaw and chew
food, and it can create pain while speaking. Fortunately, there are effective
treatments available aside from medications. Consider visiting a
physical therapist to find out how drug-free, noninvasive treatments can help you.
Identifying the Contributing Factors
To facilitate favorable long-term outcomes, the physical therapist may
first look for the problems that could be contributing to your symptoms.
These may include postural problems, bruxism induced by stress, prior
traumatic injury, arthritis, or perhaps even displacement of the jaw joint.
In some cases, lifestyle counseling such as postural corrections can help
resolve the problem.
Relieving the Pain
Pain relief is often the first priority for
patients with severe TMJ disorder. Physical therapy can involve a range of modalities to alleviate pain,
including heat and cold therapy, ultrasound, and transcutaneous electrical
nerve stimulation (TENS). Heat therapy in particular can be very helpful
for relaxing the muscles to lessen the pain.
Improving Physical Function
Manual therapy, which refers to hands-on techniques, can be used to both
relieve the pain and to gently encourage a greater range of motion. If
tissue adhesions are present, the physical therapist can carefully break
up the scar tissue. Additionally, physical therapy for TMJ disorder typically
involves guiding the patient through a series low-load exercises. These
exercises are specially designed to gently strengthen the jaw muscles
to support better function, while preventing the aggravation of existing symptoms.
TMJ disorder is just one of the many musculoskeletal problems that our
specialists can treat here at
Manhattan Total Health. We offer comprehensive sports medicine services in New York, NY, including
physiatry, nutritional counseling, massage therapy, and professional physical
therapy. Call (888) 614-9257 to schedule a consult at one of our convenient