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Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD/TMJ)

Temporomandibular Disorder, commonly known as TMD, is a condition that affects the joints and muscles of the jaw. It is a painful and uncomfortable condition that can cause difficulties with everyday activities such as eating and speaking. At the same time, this disorder can be challenging to diagnose, as symptoms can vary widely from person to person depending on the severity of the condition. TMD is sometimes referred to as TMJ or TMJD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) because it relates to the temporomandibular joint.

what is tmj?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. There are two of these joints, one on each side of your head in front of your ears. When we eat, talk, or even yawn, this joint works tirelessly to help us move our jaw. However, when something goes wrong with this joint, it can lead to pain, discomfort, and a range of other issues.

typical causes:

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of TMD, including trauma or injury to the jaw, grinding or clenching of teeth, misalignment of the jaw or teeth, and arthritis in the temporomandibular joint. In addition, stress and anxiety can cause tension in the jaw and facial muscles, leading to the onset of TMD symptoms. 

how can physical therapy help:

By working with a physical therapist, patients can learn exercises and stretches to improve their jaw mobility and decrease pain. Additionally, physical therapists can provide manual therapy, such as massage, to relax tight muscles and release tension in the jaw. Through a combination of exercise and manual techniques, physical therapy can help patients with TMD regain their quality of life and improve their overall function.

Ready to get moving? Contact us today to schedule an assessment.

exercises that may help reduce pain:

If you experience more pain with these exercises, hold off from that particular movement.

Chin Tuck with Overpressure – Sit with good upright posture. Place two fingers on your chin. Tuck your chin backward, hold for a couple of seconds. Then return to the starting position. Complete 20 reps 3 times a day. 

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Mouth Opening – End Range Stretch – Open your mouth wide and hold this position for a stretch to your mouth and jaw for a couple of seconds. Use your hands to assist in the pull. Complete 1 set of 20 reps, 3 times a day.

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Protrusion – Start by sitting with a tall posture, head over shoulders, and jaw relaxed. Move your jaw forward. The bottom row of teeth should move as far forward in front of the top row as possible. Hold for about 2-3 seconds and then relax to the starting position. Complete 1 set of 20 reps, 3 times a day.

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