Image by Sammy Williams

TMJ

WHAT IS TMJ OR TMD?

The TMJ - Temporomandibular Joint - is the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull, and TMD - Temporomandibular Dysfunction - is pain or restricted movement in that area. Most people don’t really consider the “jaw” an area that you can injure because they have these magic things called “teeth” attached to them. However, your jaw has cartilage, muscles, a meniscus, tendons… just like your knee or shoulder! 

Therefore, there are a LOT of folks who have persistent pain, headaches, catching, fatigue, and stiffness in their jaw that they NEVER think that physical therapy might be a good option. We love to be part of a team that can work with your dental professional, behavioral therapist, and/or physician to make sure you’re getting the RIGHT treatment for your symptoms.

TMJ SYNDROMES & TMD CAN BE CAUSED BY:

  • Poor postural habits 

  • Chronic clenching/ grinding

  • Poor bite alignment (malocclusion)

  • Fractures / trauma to the face

  • Surgery or dental procedures

  • Trismus (“lockjaw”)

  • Arthritis

SYMPTOMS OF TMJ

  • Pain in the jaw, teeth, or head

  • Pain or inability to chew

  • Popping or clicking in the jaw when you move it

  • Reduces 

  • Headaches

  • Tension in the jaw / head / neck

  • Poor bite alignment

  • Ringing in the Ear (tinnitus)

  • Pressure/ fullness in the ear

  • Pain during sleep or on awakening

TREATMENT FOR TMJ SYNDROME AND TMD

Remember how we said the TMJ is like a joint, but that have teeth attached to them?  We USE our faces all the time - between breathing, talking, facial expressions, chewing, clenching, etc, there is almost no time in a 24-hour period where all of those moving parts truly RELAX. 

 

We can assess the nature of your symptoms and get you started on activities that can help to reduce pain and tension almost immediately. Manual therapy can help stretch and loosen chronically stiff or imbalanced tissues, and rebalancing exercises (YES! You can strengthen your jaw and facial muscles!) of the neck, shoulders, and jaw can make a huge difference in the stresses we put through that area.

See the difference that a physical therapist can make in treating TMJ issues, and feel what it’s like to have a more relaxed posture, less headaches, better sleep, and freedom from limiting which foods you can choose when you hit all the best restaurants around Western North Carolina.