Physical Therapy for TMJ Disorders
The TMJ is a joint (where two bones connect) where the jaw bone (mandible) connects to the skull. TMJ disorders are most often the result of the teeth, the chewing muscles, and the joint not working together properly. It can also result from disease in the joint itself.
Physical therapy may help when TMJ disorders cause persistent pain, limited mobility and weakness. A physical therapist will evaluate your condition by assessing joint mobility, range of motion, strength, posture, and function.
Symptoms of a TMJ disorder may include the following:
- Dull, aching pain around the ears is the most common symptom
- Tenderness in the face and jaw, or pain
- Jaw muscles may spasm, radiating pain to the muscles of the neck, shoulders and chest
- Minor hearing loss, dizziness and even nausea
- Jaw catching or locking when yawning
- Any of the symptoms above with clicking, grating, or popping sounds when the month opens or closes
- Chewing muscles feel tired in the morning or when eating.
- Unexplained toothaches, earaches, sinus, neck or head pain; frequent stiffness in the neck
Talk to your doctor if you feel that you have the symptoms of TMJ. The list above is not complete by any means, so be sure to describe any and all symptoms you’ve noticed.