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TEMPOROMADIBULAR DISORDER (TMD)

Do you suffer from jaw pain, grinding of your teeth, clicking of your jaw, ear pain, tooth pain or headaches? These can all be signs of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder, also known as the Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD).

What is TMJ / TMD?

TMD refers to problems with the jaw and/or the muscles in the face that control the jaw. TMJ refers to dysfunctions of the jaw joint that connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull, allowing the jaw to move up, down and side to side. It might affect one or both sides of the face.

 

What causes TMJ / TMD?

The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull. Poor alignment of or trauma to the teeth or jaw, prolonged open mouth positions, teeth grinding or clenching, poor posture, stress, arthritis or inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders, and paraoral habits such as gum chewing or nail biting can cause TMJ / TMD.

 

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What are the symptoms of TMJ / TMD?

Jaw pain, soreness, clicking, popping, locking, and/or fatigue are signs of TMJ / TMD. Ear pain and/or popping as well as pain in the temple, and headaches are also signs of TMJ / TMD. Any limitation in the natural functions of the jaw, such as opening the mouth and chewing, may be a symptom of TMJ / TMD. Oftentimes, TMJ / TMD causes severe pain and discomfort. These symptoms can be temporary or last for many years.

 

How can TMJ / TMD be treated?

TMJ / TMD can oftentimes be treated by ice packs, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, massage, and gentle stretching to the jaw and neck. Additionally, the avoidance of gum chewing and nail biting can help decrease the symptoms of TMJ / TMD. However, medical treatments such as dental splints, botox injections, and physical therapy have been proven to successfully treat TMJ / TMD. If surgery is absolutely necessary, physical therapy is a vital part of the recovery process, as it helps minimize scar tissue formation, muscle tightness and allows for a complete recovery.

 

How can physical therapy help TMJ / TMD pain?

Physical therapy provides TMJ / TMD patients the opportunity to regain normal jaw movement, lessen daily stress on the jaw, increase the jaw’s range of motion, realign the jaw, reduce jaw spasms, and ease jaw pain. A physical therapist is able to evaluate the posture of a patient and observe how their cervical spine (the upper portion of their spine) moves, so that they can analyze how the jaw is functioning and if there are any abnormalities in its movement.

 

A lot can be done to help TMD / TMJ once a dentist helps identify the cause of the pain and after one of our physical therapist’s thoroughly evaluates the problem. Once the root cause of the jaw pain has been discovered, a comprehensive plan will be developed to quickly relieve the pain and restore natural movement to the jaw. At PROCare Physical Therapy, the care continues even after you leave our clinic. We will provide you with pain management techniques and exercises so that you can regain normal jaw movement, and get long lasting results!

Lets get started today. Call us at Greenfield or New Berlin to make an appointment and get back to living a pain-free life.