The American Academy of Craniomandibular Disorders has cited physical therapy as an important treatment modality in the management of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder TMD or TMJ as it’s referred to.
Physical therapy is intended to relieve musculoskeletal TMJ pain, reduce inflammation, provide muscle stability and restore oral motor function. Numerous physical therapy interventions are effective in managing TMJ, including deep muscle manual therapy techniques in neck, back, shoulders and inside the mouth. Exercise therapy, thermal therapies by application of cold or heat, electrophysical modalities like transcutaneous electric neural stimulation, dry needling, and posture education, just to name a few.
TMJ symptoms include pain in the jaw, an inability to fully open the mouth, and “crackling” or “popping” noises when moving the jaw. Other possible symptoms include neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, earache, ear ringing, headache, migraines, dizziness, and difficulty swallowing.
TMJ can result from chronic teeth clenching and grinding at night, injury to the jaw or tension in the neck and face from stress and poor posture.