The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) guides jaw movement. Problems with the TMJ are known as temporomandibular joint disorder or dysfunction (TMD) which cause sensations such as jaw pain. TMD is very common, more than 10 million people in the United States alone suffer from this. Luckily, physical therapists are able to evaluate and treat TMJ disorders.
TMD symptoms include:
- Jaw Pain
- Jaw Fatigue
- Ringing in Your Ears
- Popping Sounds in Your Jaw
- Locking Jaw
- Neck Pain
How can physical therapy help?
Posture Education. Your therapist will teach you to be aware of your posture so that you can improve the resting position of your jaw, head, neck, breastbone, and shoulder blades when you're sitting and walking. Physical therapists use skilled hand movements called manual therapy to increase movement and relieve pain in tissues and joints. Your physical therapist will teach you special "low-load" exercises, which are exercises that don't exert a lot of pressure on your TMJ, but can strengthen the muscles of the jaw and restore a more natural and pain-free motion.
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