Temporomandibular disorder (TMD), is a term that describes an entire group of disorders involving one or more of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
The TMJ is the main joint of the jaw. There is one on each side of your head that consists of:
- muscles that control joint movement,
- ligaments that hold the bones together,
- cartilage that provides a smooth surface for the bones to move on,
- a disc that helps with proper movement of the bones,
- elastic tissue that helps hold the disc in place
One or more of the above tissues can cause symptoms. In fact, studies suggest that one third of the population at any one time experiences TMJ symptoms such as pain with chewing, yawning, or jaw opening. Women seem to have TMJ problems much more often than men.There are a variety of temporomandibular disorders. The muscles (myogenous), joint(s) (arthrogenous), or a combination of the two may cause pain.
How can physical therapy help TMD?
Since physical therapists treat muscle and joint problems, they are ideally suited to address a TMD. The majority of patients diagnosed with TMD also have associated neck pain along with postural issues. Patients respond well to treatment provided by a physical therapist. No other healthcare practitioner is better suited to address both the TMD directly and the surrounding areas that may be contributing to their pain.
TMD may appear to be a complex condition and it shouldn't be. This website and your physical therapist can help to insure the following:
- You are properly educated,
- That your treatment is conservative, cost-effective, and reversible
- That your goals are realistic
- Your examination is brief and meant to identify your source(s) of pain
When a physical therapist performs the examination, they will be able to classify you as having one or more of the following:
- An inflammatory condition
- Limited jaw range of motion
- Excessive jaw range of motion
- Arthrogenous Disc Displacement
- Jaw muscle pain
- • Neck dysfunction mimicking jaw pain
Once the involved structures are identified, the therapist will be able to provide the appropriate treatment for YOU!
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