Looking for ways to treat TMJ pain? Here’s how physical therapy can help

how to treat tmj pain

How much do you know about your temporomandibular joint (TMJ)? Chances are, not much unless you’ve been diagnosed with pain related to it. The TMJ is a joint located on each side of your jaw, connecting your jawbone to the rest of your skull. It’s a tiny joint, but its impact is enormous. 

Your TMJ plays a role in talking, chewing food, laughing and smiling. Most of the time, the TMJ operates smoothly and you don’t give it much thought. However, some conditions cause TMJ dysfunction, which is painful and limits the use of your jaw.

Treatments for TMJ pain vary depending on the cause and severity, but in many cases, you can visit a physical therapist for assistance. 

How physical therapists treat TMJ pain

TMJ dysfunction physical therapy looks different for each patient. Physical therapists determine your treatment approach by considering the cause and severity of your pain, as well as other factors like age, weight and medical history.

In many cases, physical therapy for TMJ pain includes some form of:

  • Posture guidance — Poor head posture can increase strain on the muscles connected to your jaw. There is a large correlation between issues in the neck, or cervical spine, and your TMJ. Addressing mechanics and function in the neck can also help improve symptoms of TMJ. Sitting or standing with your head hunched forward are examples of poor posture that can contribute to jaw pain.
    Physical therapists can examine many facets of your posture and help you make adjustments that reduce strain on your muscles.
  • Manual therapy — Also known as hands-on therapy, this treatment method involves the use of your physical therapist’s hands to gently mobilize and maneuver your muscles and joints. Using manual therapy, your physical therapist can help reduce pain and improve movement at both the jaw and neck. Manual therapy can also help break up any scar tissue that may be contributing to your TMJ dysfunction.
  • Gentle exercises — Stronger muscles can help reduce strain off the TMJ. Your physical therapist can guide you through gentle exercises that don’t stress the jaw but can help it grow stronger with less pain. 

Visit Advent Physical Therapy for TMJ dysfunction treatment

Is jaw pain keeping you from enjoying your meals or a friendly conversation? Our physical therapists at Advent can help you treat your TMJ pain as part of your recovery process. Contact our team today for more information about TMJ pain treatment or to schedule an initial appointment.