Physical Therapy for TMJ Disorders

August 16, 2013 in STSMPT

Did you know that TMJ disorders are now ranked as the second most common musculoskeletal pain, behind only low back pain?(1) The TMJ
(temporomandibular joint) is the hinge joint of your jaw. TMJ disorders are typically painful and may involve a clicking sound or difficulty opening / closing one’s mouth. It’s commonly believed that TMJ disorders are self-correcting over time, but the research suggests otherwise. Research has shown that only 42% of TMJ cases resolve over time. 58% have persisting symptoms after 2.5 years.

Research strongly suggests that competent physical therapy can be an important part of the solution for overcoming TMJ disorders.(2,3) Physical therapy lessens the pain, improves function, and improves quality of life. The most important part of the physical therapy solution tends to be specific exercises, posture correction, and manual therapy. In certain cases, there are other tools and procedures that can help as well. If you know someone with a recurring TMJ disorder, tell him or her to give us a call.

1. Velly A, Schiffman E, Rindal B, et al. The feasibility of a clinical trial of pain related to temporomandibular muscle and joint disorders. JADA. 2013; 144 (1): e1-10.
2. Madani A, Mirmortazavi A. Comparison of three treatment options for painful temporomandibular joint clicking. Journal of Oral Science. 2011; 53 (3): 349-354.
3. McNeely M, Olivo S, Magee D. A systematic review of the
effectiveness of physical therapy interventions for temporomandibular disorders. Phys Ther. 2006; 86: 710-725.

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