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Jaw Dropping Therapy (literally)

Have you been told you grind your teeth? Do you have headaches? Do you have pain with chewing? You might be suffering from Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). Find out more below and how physical therapy can help!

What is your TMJ?

o Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is your jaw joint. You have one joint on either side of your jaw. It opens and closes, moves side to side, and forward and backward.

What is TMD?

o Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) are classified as pain and/or dysfunction of the jaw joint and/or muscles that effect jaw function such as chewing and opening and closing.

Signs you’re suffering from TMD

o You wake up with a sore/painful jaw area

o You’ve been told by your dentist you have signs of clenching or grinding

o Pain or clicking with jaw opening and/or closing

o Limited opening of your jaw

o Pain with chewing

o Headaches

Ways physical therapy can help

o There are several techniques that physical therapists can provide to help with your jaw pain. We can perform dry needling to the muscles surrounded the jaw and related neck musculature. We can provide massage to these muscles as well. Joint mobilizations and manipulations to the jaw and related neck joints are also beneficial to improve motion and decrease pain. There are several stretches and exercises we can implement to help improve postural strength, relaxation, and mobility.

o Headaches and neck pain are commonly related to TMD and we can provide similar techniques to help decrease headaches and neck pain as well.

o Screening for vestibular disorders (dizziness) is also important as these areas have overlapping nerves and can be related to each other.

o Did you know??....Tension within the TMJ (clenching/grinding) can also be related to pelvic floor dysfunction! If you have pelvic floor pain or leaking, a physical therapist can evaluate your TMJ and see if the two are linked!

Relaxation technique

o If you are someone that has a tight and painful jaw or notices you clench or grind throughout the day or night, try this exercise to help relax your jaw muscles:

Sit upright with your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Slowly open and close your jaw 5 times while keeping your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Repeat this a couple times every couple of hours throughout the day to help relax your muscles.

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