What is Temporal Mandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)?

TMD is a disorder commonly involving pain and dysfunction in the jaw and/or muscles involved in controlling the jaw movement.

Signs and Symptoms of TMD:

  • Pain or tenderness of the jaw
  • Aching pain in or around the ear
  • Neck Pain
  • Headaches (migraines)
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Locking or popping of the jaw
  • Teeth grinding and/ or clenching
  • Facial pain

Treatment for TMD

Treatment for TMD may include a mouth guard made by your dentist and/ or dental restorations to establish occlusion. Physical therapy addresses the soft tissue and muscular pain of the jaw and neck to allow normal joint mechanics along with decreasing pain with function. There are several approaches to physical therapy for treatment and based on your condition, your therapist will select treatments that will work best for you.

How can our Physical Therapists help?

Our physical therapists use skilled hands-on manual techniques to gently restore joint mobility of the jaw and neck. These techniques relax painful muscles and soft tissue surrounding these joints. Our physical therapist will also teach you special “low load” and flexibility exercises that don’t exert a lot of pressure on your jaw, but can strengthen the muscles of the jaw and restore a more natural, pain-free motion.


Physical Therapy Treatment Options

We treat TMD with several treatment options including:

Rezzimax Tuner Pro: Portable handheld device that combines resonance with progressive stress management techniques to relieve chronic pain. Utilizing resonance allows the body to relax by targeting the nervous system and fine tuning your
vagus nerve which places your body in a relaxed healing state.

Functional Dry Needling: FDN releases shortened bands of muscles and decreased trigger points causing musculoskeletal pain and restriction. It is augmented with the use of electrical stimulation to help reset the muscles which allows a normal contraction of the muscle itself.

Manual Therapy: This includes gentle adjustments, trigger point release, and soft tissue mobilization of the cervical spine and jaw.

Modalities: The use of modalities may include ultrasound, cold laser, and electrical stimulation. A home exercise program is also provided to teach
patients how to manage and avoid TMD.


Helpful tips to help TMD

  • Place any work you are focusing on (written documents, computer screens) directly in front of you and not off to the side where you are forced to look in one direction for long periods of time.
  • If you use phones for long periods of times use a headset that allows your neck and jaw to remain in a restful “neutral” position.
  • Avoid repetitive chewing (hard or chewy foods, chewing gum)
  • Avoid opening your jaw too wide.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene and tooth health
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach, which forces the neck to rotate to one direction in order to maintain an open airway, increasing stress on the TMJ