TMJ is the shorthand name for your temporomandibular joints — the joints on either side of your face that connect your mandible (jawbone) with your temporal bones (base of your skull). Your TMJs are unlike any other joint in your body because they work together to allow you to move your jaw up and down, side to side and forward and backward.
Because of this wide range of motion, TMJs involve a complex network of structures working together, including muscles, ligaments, discs, your jawbone and your temporal bones.
Temporomandibular disorders — also known as TMD —occur when any structures that control your TMJs become misaligned or out of sync.
Common causes include head or jaw trauma, arthritis, disc displacement or bruxism — the tendency to habitually clench your jaw or grind your teeth. TMJ Disorders can also result from your genetics or co-occurring medical conditions like fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome. Autoimmune disorders may overlap with or worsen the symptoms as well.
Patients with TMJ Disorders can experience a range of side effects all over their bodies.
You may want to talk to your doctor if you regularly experience any of these five common symptoms:
1. Pain or tenderness in your jaw, especially the TMJs.
2. Aching facial pains that spread behind the eyes and to the shoulders, neck or back.
3. Clicking, popping, or grating noises or sensations when you use your jaw.
4. Jaw locking, limited mouth motions or your jaw getting "stuck."
5. Headaches, dizziness, vision problems or other neurological symptoms.
These symptoms can indicate other medical conditions like tooth decay, sinus problems and even heart disease. If you experience persistent jaw pain or have trouble opening and closing your jaw, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
If you have been diagnosed with a TMJ Disorder, physical therapy may be a good option for relieving your symptoms and restoring your everyday functions. Physical therapy for TMJ-related pain often involves various exercises and treatments that loosen your jaw and relax your TMJs.
Our Physical Therapy treatment includes:
With direct access physical therapy, you can skip the referral and get right to work with our team. Our skilled therapists have extensive training and experience using physical therapy techniques to treat TMJ Disorders.