At least 10 million people live with TMJ syndrome, or temporomandibular joint syndrome. TMJ syndrome refers to a group of conditions that inflame and tighten the jaw joint. Teeth grinding, stress, arthritis, injury or genetics can trigger TMJ pain symptoms. Without treatment, TMJ syndrome complications can lead to chronic jaw pain and headaches.
How PT can ease symptoms of TMJ pain flare-ups
TMJ syndrome symptoms can flare up unexpectedly. Physical therapy can help lessen the frequency and intensity of TMJ pain flare-ups by:
- Strengthening and stretching the muscles around the jaw joint ” A jaw with TMJ syndrome can be stiff, and a lack of mobility can increase pain and tightness. Physical therapists can recommend specific jaw exercises that strengthen the jaw muscle and encourage the joint into proper alignment. Performing jaw exercises also improves blood circulation and strengthens weakened jaw muscles. Doing so can help prevent further damage and injury.
- Increasing jaw mobility and function ” TMJ pain flare-ups can cause the jaw to lock in place. This means that TMJ syndrome symptoms can make it painful to do daily activities like eating and speaking. Physical therapists can lessen lockjaw symptoms through a variety of methods. Physical therapists can use passive range-of-motion techniques to gently move the jaw up and down without engaging the muscle. They can also apply pressure to the tissue around the jaw and neck to encourage circulation and decrease muscle tightness.
- Increasing jaw stability ” TMJ syndrome symptoms can involve jaw shifts, in which the upper and lower teeth are misaligned. Physical therapists can recommend a variety of stabilization techniques to help train the jaw to be in a consistent position. They may recommend the use of a splint, or mouthguard, to hold the jaw in place. Splints can prevent damage caused by teeth grinding, which can contribute to a misaligned jaw. With the use of a splint and physical therapy exercises, the jaw can feel more stabilized.
Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for TMJ pain flare-ups
At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we're proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that's close to you and that can help you address TMJ pain flare-ups. Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform. Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your injury or condition.