Raise of hands for those of you who call your physical therapist when you have jaw pain? Often, people jump to medication, night splints, or even surgical procedures before seeking physical therapy intervention. The truth is, the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), is a synovial joint, and can be treated similar to other joint pains in the body.
One of the most common causes of TMJ pain is poor posturing. Slouched/rounded shoulders, and a forward flexed head and neck position alters the mechanics of the jaw, and can quickly cause undue stress to the TMJ. Stress or bad habits of teeth grinding can cause deterioration of the TMJ. Injury when chewing or trauma can cause damage to the joint or disc as well. Here at PTSR, we have several providers who are proficient in treating jaw pain no matter the cause.
How can PT help you ask? Physical Therapy aims to improve TMJ mechanics, improve posture, and relieve pain. Some common treatments for Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD) include the following:
Exercise: To improve function of the jaw and neck, as well as improve posture.
Iontophoresis: A non-invasive method of using electrical current to deliver medication through the skin to relieve inflammation and pain.
Ultrasound: High frequency sound waves transferred to the joint used to promote healing and deliver anti-inflammatory medication to the area.
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM): A technique using specifically designed instruments to effectively address scar tissue and fascial restrictions. The technique is combined with therapeutic exercises to detect and treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation often due to overuse, old injuries, or poor posture.
Functional Dry Needling: Completely distinct from acupuncture, FDN is a technique using a solid filament needle to stimulate trigger points, muscular, and connective tissues. Be eliciting a muscle twitch, and in turn improving blood flow and oxygen to the dysfunctional tissue, the taut musculature releases.
Mobilization: A technique that may combine joint mobilizations, soft tissue mobilizations, and trigger point release, helping to restore tissue mobility and joint range of motion.
Get your life back in motion at PTSR!