TMJ or Temporomandibular joint disorder is a disorder of the temporomandibular joints that may cause so much pain, which usually felt in front of the ears. Pain in the TMJ can be caused by trauma such as degenerative or inflammatory arthritis, structural defects, poor dental work or even a blow to the face that may cause to push the mandible towards the ears whenever the person suffering from TMJ swallows or chews.
Clenching or grinding of teeth caused by stress is a very common offender. There are times that the muscles surrounding the TMJ used for swallowing and chewing can go into spasms, which causes neck pain and headache.
The cure for TMJ may depend on its cause and how severe the situation is, and may range from just a simple mouth guard or medication, TMJ physical therapy to surgery just to avoid severe grinding of teeth especially at night.
TMJ Physical Therapy
A TMJ physical therapy may enhance a program for you that may include practicing and learning techniques for attaining normal movement of jaws.
The center of the physical therapy for TMJ is stretching relaxation and releasing of tight scar tissues and muscles. Physical therapy is an essential part of the treatment from TM joint surgery for it aids in minimizing muscle tightness and the formation of scar tissues.
Techniques for the physical therapy of TMJ may include:
- Jaw routine exercises to improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles and the jaw’s range of motion.
- Heat therapy to enhance blood circulation in the jaw area
- Ice therapy to relieve pain and decrease inflammation
- Message to eliminate muscle tension all over the face
- Proper training to enhance proper jaw alignment and posture
- TENS or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, which is the utilization of a slight electrical current over the jaw point. The current is known to hinder with the emission of the body’s pain signal. TENS may relax the muscles, enhance blood circulation and eliminates pain.
- TM or the Movement of the Temporomandibular joint to emit scar tissue that hinders muscle movement and enhances the range of jaw movement.
- Ultrasound therapy, which utilizes high-frequency sound waves straight to the joint to decrease swelling and pain and enhance blood circulation.
What to Expect after TMJ Physical Therapy?
After undergoing a physical therapy, it is a must that you rest your jaw, try to limit bad habits that may be causing the pain and stay away from chewing foods that may stress or hurt the joint.
Why Is It Done?
Physical Therapy Is:
- Usually used together with proper medication such as muscle relaxants and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines
- Recommended especially if symptoms are not lessened after doing home remedies
- Usually utilized after as surgery to enhance healing and decrease swelling and pain
Is It Effective?
Physical therapy is essential to the success of both nonsurgical and surgical treatments meant for TMJ for total healing and rehabilitation of the jaw muscles.