People who suffer from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD also known as TMJ) may experience symptoms such as jaw pain, popping or clicking sounds in the TMJ, facial pain, earaches, headaches, and/or sinus problems. They may notice difficulty performing simple daily tasks such as eating large morsels of food, singing, or talking for prolonged periods of time.
Causes of TMD can include trauma (motor vehicle accident or fall), poor oral habits such as biting fingernails, bruxism (grinding of the teeth), clenching the teeth, or high levels of stress and anxiety. The levels of stress and anxiety that many people experience has been intensified due to the pandemic, which has resulted in intensification of tension, headaches, and TMD symptoms.
TMD can often be due to other associated factors that frequently are not treated. Tight and tense muscles and other soft tissues in the face, head, neck, shoulder or upper back can contribute if they are not working efficiently. Also, mobility deficits of the joints and soft tissues in the upper neck, upper back, ribcage or even the shoulder can contribute to the symptoms.
The pain symptoms and functional limitations may seem debilitating, but physical therapy can help! Physical Therapy treatment of TMD typically involves hands on manual therapy to mobilize the jaw, neck, and surrounding soft tissues and exercises to retrain appropriate function of the TMJ and neck. Northern Rehab has several physical therapists specially trained in these interventions. Our therapists are also extremely talented in treating the related dysfunctions that may be contributing to TMD. Each patient receives a specific evaluation to determine the appropriate treatment and will be directly treated by the physical therapist at each visit.
TMD Providers and Locations