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4 reasons to look for physical therapy for TMJ dysfunction near you



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According to research, about 10 million or 5% to 12% of people in the United States have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD). Younger people have an even higher likelihood of experiencing it.

Your two temporomandibular joints (TMJs) join together your skull and your jawbone. TMJD refers to pain in the muscles that allow your jaw to move. TMJD is typically caused by grinding your teeth or chewing too much, and it can even be a result of injuring your neck or jaw. Here are some common symptoms of TMJD:

  • Pain in your jaw or in at least one of your temporomandibular joints.
  • Pain when you chew.
  • Difficulty when opening and closing your mouth.

4 reasons you should choose physical therapy to treat TMJD

Nonsurgical treatments like physical therapy can reduce pain from TMJD. Researchers state that patients may experience TMJ pain reductions immediately after physical therapy. Here are four reasons why physical therapy may be beneficial for treating TMJD:

  • Reduced jaw and neck inflammation and pain — Both jaw and neck pain stem from inflammation around your TMJ. Physical therapists can reduce TMJ inflammation using techniques such as manual therapy and dry needling. By reducing your inflammation, physical therapists can reduce your jaw and neck pain. This lower level of pain can help you feel more comfortable drinking and eating, smiling, and yawning.
  • Improved jaw and neck flexibility — Physical therapists can use manual therapy techniques to improve the flexibility of your jaw and neck. Improving your jaw and neck flexibility can help you bite and chew food more easily.
  • Strengthened area near jaw joints — Physical therapy exercises such as muscle strengthening can reduce the pressure on your jaw. This reduced pressure on your jaw can strengthen the supporting tissue in your head. Strengthened supporting tissue is important for easy and comfortable jaw movement.
  • Improved awareness and injury prevention — Physical therapists can help you become more aware of how to care for your TMJ. For example, a physical therapist may recommend therapeutic exercises that you can do in moments of stress. This may prevent you from grinding your teeth and injuring your TMJ.

3 benefits of going to a nearby physical therapy clinic for help with TMJD

Nearby physical therapy clinics offer a variety of physical therapy techniques. Some of these techniques may include: 

  • Dry needling. 
  • Manual therapy.
  • Therapeutic exercises. 

Physical therapists can bundle techniques like these in a TMJD treatment plan that’s beneficial for you. Here are three specific benefits of using a TMJD treatment plan build for you by a local physical therapy clinic:

  • Preventing surgery — Seeking physical therapy first for TMJD may prevent the need for surgery. Physical therapists offer techniques such as dry needling and joint mobilization that can not only reduce your TMJ pain, but also strengthen the muscles near your TMJ. This can minimize the likelihood of your TMJ and surrounding areas becoming more painful and inflamed and requiring surgical intervention.
  • Minimizing the need for medications — Through muscle strengthening exercises, physical therapists can help your body naturally loosen up your muscles. More flexible jaw muscles can lead to less TMJ pain. In that case, you may not need to take pain medications. This can help you avoid the possible negative side effects of certain medications.
  • Accessing lifestyle change recommendations — A lifestyle change that physical therapists may recommend includes posture changes. For example, a physical therapist may recommend that you push back your shoulders and place equal body weight on each foot. These changes can help reduce your head pain, which can help your body better support your jaw.

REPAIR SI can help treat TMJ dysfunction through physical therapy techniques

Having difficulty moving your jaw and/or experiencing jaw pain? At REPAIR SI, our services include physical therapy that can help you treat the underlying cause of your pain. We’ve partnered with our community to ensure that our patients have high-quality care for TMJD and many other issues. 

Our team can help treat your TMJD with the goal of improving your mental, physical and spiritual life. This approach stems from our value of whole-body treatment, which means that we address how your TMJD affects different areas of your life. 

Contact our team today for more information about physical therapy for TMJD or to schedule an initial appointment.