TMJ Physical Therapy: What Are The Four Best Techniques?


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Publish date

July 25, 2021



Do you experience jaw pain? Do you have difficulty chewing or yawning? If so, you may have a condition called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. You can book a follow-up appointment with your dentist so he can recommend if you need to work with a physical therapist. Some people opt for TMJ physical therapy to relieve pain related-symptoms. Keep reading to expand your knowledge about the treatment options for TMJ Disorders.


Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Also known as TMD, a temporomandibular joint disorder is a condition that can result in immense trouble using your jaw. The condition is set apart by jaw pain that restricts your capacity to easily open and close your mouth. Also, you may encounter clicking sounds while eating, yawning, or talking.The woman decided to get TMJ physical therapy.

TMD symptoms tend to come on slowly with no particular injury or occasion. You may observe the pain begins after eating solid food varieties. Typically, the pain is discontinuous in nature. It usually goes ahead after opening your mouth wide or utilizing your jaw to eat hard foods.


What Causes Complications With Your TMJ?

There are numerous reasons for temporomandibular disorders. These may include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Stress
  • Displacement of the articular disc in the joint
  • Forward head posture
  • Teeth clenching or grinding, known as bruxism

If you stress the joint, it could cause pain and joint movement dysfunction. This may prompt inflammation of the muscles, joints, and ligaments encompassing the temporomandibular joint.



Suppose you are experiencing TMJ pain. In that case, you should make an appointment with a doctor, healthcare specialist, dentist, just make sure you could get your teeth checked by a professional. They can determine the reason for your pain and can appropriately analyze your condition. The finding of TMD is made to a great extent by clinical assessment.

Your physician may touch or contact your jaw joint and the muscles around it, experiencing tenderness or clicking while you open and close your mouth.

Additionally, the doctor will assess your jaw’s range of motion, checking for any irregularities in your jaw movement. In some cases, your jaw may open better on one side and not on the opposite, causing your jaw to move aside as you open your mouth.

Sometimes, a physician will use an X-ray to examine if your TMJ has arthritic changes. Then, an MRI might be taken to check the situation of the articular disc in your jaw.

If your doctor precludes TMD, there might be other reasons for your jaw pain. These may incorporate:

  • Neck arthritis
  • Facial neuralgia
  • Tooth decay or cavities

Once a doctor makes a diagnosis for TMD, you can start treatment. can help with your treatment plans. Another option for you is working with a physical therapist.


Physical Therapy Evaluation

The first appointment with a physical therapist for TMJ disorders will be an initial assessment.

Your therapist will take time to examine your condition. Then, they will ask you about how your jaw pain began and what exercises aggravate your symptoms. Also, they will discuss chewing or eating habits and other approaches that might be disturbing to your jaw.

Additionally, your therapist will get some information about your previous treatments for your TMJ pain. A thorough assessment of your medical history may similarly be completed.

During the evaluation, your physical therapist may perform several tests to get a pattern estimation of your TMJ condition. Segments of a PT assessment for TMJ disorders may include:

The therapist tries to adjust the patient's jaw.

  • evaluation of posture
  • measures neck range of motion
  • palpation of constructions around your jaw
  • measurement of jaw scope of movement in different directions
  • measurement of the health of your jaw and postural muscles

Once the therapist completes your evaluation, they will discuss the results and create a plan of care to begin treating your TMJ disorder. Make sure to pose inquiries about your condition and what you should anticipate from treatment. Your physical therapist will likewise work with you to foster objectives for your course of treatment.


PT Treatments

Your physical therapist may utilize different treatments for your TMJ disorder. These various techniques can help decrease aggravation and pain, improve jaw mobility, enhance posture, and help you regain the natural function of your jaw. Treatments may incorporate numerous potential techniques for restoring your joint.

Application of Heat or Ice

Warmth might be used on your jaw to loosen up muscles and reduce pain. Also, you can use ice for TMD to diminish pain and inflammation around your jaw.



Physical therapists use ultrasound treatment to give profound heat to tissues and boost cellular mobility. Sometimes, they also use this to treat TMD torment.

Furthermore, a therapist should be cautious when applying ultrasound. Several studies regarding its utilization in physical therapy find that it frequently offers minimal improvement.



Your therapist may use different massage techniques to address your discomfort. In short, they may massage your facial muscles, jaw muscles, and neck and shoulder muscles. Additionally, massage therapy aims to relax muscles and further develop circulation, permitting a typical movement to happen in your temporomandibular joint.



Finally, your therapist will prescribe some exercises for your jaw. Perhaps, this is one of the most essential parts of your TMD treatment plan. It helps to further develop the way you open and close your jaw. In any case, the objective of exercise for TMJ disorder is to reestablish ordinary, torment-free jaw movement.

If you have any inquiries concerning your rehab program for TMJ disorder, speak with your therapist. They will probably be happy to help you comprehend your treatment program and create changes so you can get the most out of PT.



Physical therapy can be a helpful modality of care if you have a TMJ disorder. Your therapist can help identify the reason for your pain and can increase your jaw movements. In that case, you can instantly and securely get back to your usual activities.



Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD).

Jaw exercises for TMJ pain.

Overview of Therapeutic Ultrasound Applications and Safety Considerations.

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