Have you ever heard of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder? If so, it’s likely that you have in terms of orthodontic or dental medicine. What if we told you that physical therapy could help mitigate the pain you feel as a result of TMD?
Good news––We can!
Read on to discover our best reasons for seeking out therapeutic treatment for nagging TMD pain.
What is TMD?
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) is a condition of the jaw that affects the surrounding joints, muscles, and ligaments. It can be caused by “trauma, an improper bite, arthritis, or wear and tear. Common symptoms include jaw tenderness, headaches, earaches, and facial pain.”
The TMD enables the mouth to open and close, which is necessary for daily tasks such as eating, drinking, and talking––all of which induce a level of stress to the jaw. A disorder of the joint could prove difficult to perform these tasks long-term.
A Few Signs
If you think you might be suffering from TMD, the best thing you can do is schedule an evaluation. In the meantime, here are some of the most common signs to be aware of.
- Jaw makes a noise
- Pain the jaw
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Trouble chewing
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
Physical therapists are what we refer to as “movement experts.” Through hands-on care and movement treatment, PTs are able to ease pain caused by TMD, regain normal jaw movement, and lessen daily stress on the jaw.
You may be thinking, “How can physical therapy help my jaw?” Here are a few ways.
TMD patients aren’t alone in this camp. When people sit, they do so with their heads tilted forward. This kind of posture puts pressure on the muscles under your chin, causing the lower jaw to draw back and the mouth to open––ultimately, this may lead to strain on the TMJ. Physical therapy will correct your posture and strengthen the resting position of your chin, head, spine, breastbone, and shoulder blades.
Improving Jaw Movement
Physical therapists are trained to perform hands-on exercises, or manual therapy, to reduce stress on various joints and muscles. Manual therapy is used to stretch the jaw and regain flexibility. This process can also alleviate scar tissue build-up in the affected region and restore mobility to the jaw.
In more intense bouts of pain, PTs may use electrical stimulation or ultrasound to mitigate existing pain or inflammation.
PTs may implement a variety of massage techniques to treat your jaw pain, particularly applied to your jaw, facial, neck, and shoulder muscles. This will relax the muscular regions and improve circulation.
If you have any reason to believe that you may be suffering from TMD, we advise scheduling an appointment with a medical practitioner to evaluate the damage.
In the meantime, you want to avoid things like chewing gum, biting pens or pencils, leaning your chin in your hand, and eating hard foods. Likewise, give your jaw a break to heal on its own and rest from the stress of overuse.
Call Country Roads Physical Therapy Today!
You shouldn’t have to suffer from pain––with a few tips and simple changes, you can experience comfort and relief today.
With our state-of-the-art equipment, aquatic facility, and ASTYM/Functional Dry Needling treatment options, our hands-on techniques are perfect for treating aches, injuries, age-related pain, and other muscle and body discomfort. Make an appointment today or find additional information at www.countryroadspt.com. We have locations in West Fairmont, East Fairmont, Buckhannon, Wheeling, Morgantown, and Whitehall, West Virginia.