What is TMD and TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint of the jaw where the lower jaw (mandible) meets the skull below the temples. TMD is a combination of jaw pain, neck pain, headaches, and earaches associated with unhealthy movement patterns , clicking, popping or locking of the jaw. These disorders affect nearly 10 million Americans, but can be effectively managed through physical therapy.

Physical Therapy and TMD

Research has shown that physical therapy can help manage jaw pain related to TMD. In order to provide you with the best care, your physical therapist will perform an evaluation of your jaw and neck and determine the treatment pathway that fits YOUR specific dysfunction.

At Body One, we emphasize education of the condition to our patients as the first step of management. Further, we will explore areas such as posture correction, diet, mobilization and relaxation, and overall joint strength and flexibility. We believe in working with your dentist or orthodontist to provide the best advice and care possible.

Common Causes

  • Trauma from a dental procedure, direct blow to the head, face, or jaw, or whiplash from a car accident.
  • Poor posture from sitting most of the day at work or at home.
  • Stress that causes clenching of the jaw during the day or bruxing at night.
  • Osteoarthritis – more stress on the joint than able to handle.

Common Symptoms

  • Pain in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint or jaw muscle stiffness.
  • Noticeable and frequient clicking, popping, or locking of the jaw while eating or talking.
  • Frequent headaches that could be mistaken for tension headaches.
  • Continuing earaches or ringing in the ears.