PT Month: Treating Your TMJ (TMD)

If you have pain in your jaw, clicking or popping in your jaw, facial swelling, or other symptoms, you may be dealing with TMD – temporomandibular joint disorder. Commonly known as TMJ, this is a common, and treatable, condition. Most people first think of their dentist or buying an over-the-counter night guard for their teeth; however, your physical therapist may be the best bet for addressing your TMD.

What TMD Is: TMD is a disorder that affects your temporomandibular joint, which is the joint connecting your jaw to your skull. It works hard: helping you talk, chew, and even yawn when you’re tired. When you have TMD, that’s when there are issues with the joint and muscles controlling it.

Symptoms You May Experience with TMD: While not everyone with TMD experiences the same symptoms, you may notice things like:

Clicking, catching, or popping of your jaw

Problems opening your mouth wide

Frequent headaches

Your jaw becoming ‘locked’ either open or closed

Facial fatigue

Pain/discomfort in the face or jaw, or even in your shoulder or neck

While we don’t know what causes every case of TMD, we do know that factors like injury, muscle tightness, tooth grinding/clenching at night, and even poor posture can all contribute to TMD. Seeing a physical therapist is a great place to turn for dealing with the pain/symptoms of your TMD. A physical therapist will assess your condition and develop a custom treatment plan designed to both reduce your discomfort and help restore proper movement. You’ll likely have a mix of both hands-on therapy visits, as well as exercises to do at home as you work toward improvement. You’ll also receive education about what likely helped contribute to your TMD, as well as how to help prevent a recurrence of your condition in the future.

If you’re dealing with jaw pain, or other pain or restrictions of the musculoskeletal system, Body One Physical Therapy is ready to help you start feeling better. We’re locally-owned and operated, and are Central Indiana’s top PT choice, with three convenient locations: North Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Don’t spend another day dealing with TMD (or other) pain, call Body One today for your initial appointment!