What is TMD?
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) refers to a painful dysfunction of your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Responsible for opening and closing your jaw, the TMJ consists of the upper temporal bone connected to your skull and the mandible, or lower jawbone.
TMD symptoms can vary, ranging from pain in and around the joint while chewing, limited range of motion or locking of the jaw, stiffness of the jaw muscles and pain that radiates into the face and neck. You may also hear a popping or clicking noise when you open or close your mouth.
What causes TMD?
35% or more of the population, which represented people of all ages, experience physical signs and symptoms of TMD in their life. However; only about 5% to 10% of those that report symptoms seek out treatment.
Often, the exact cause of temporomandibular disorders are unknown. However, several contributing factors such as occlusal abnormalities (upper and lower teeth touching), orthodontic treatments, poor health and nutrition can lead to TMJ pain. Pain can result from inflammation, arthritis, trauma to the joint, joint laxity, muscle tightness or trigger points, cervical or thoracic pain and psychosocial factors such as chronic stress, anxiety, depression or pain.
How we treat TMD
Physical therapists at Wright Physical Therapy are skilled in providing TMD therapy to people who are seeking relief from TMJ pain. Our physical therapists are able to characterize the epidemiology of and pathology of the impairment, and use an evidence based system to screen and evaluate for TMD.
To successfully treat TMD, our program consists of one or more of the following:
- Flexibility and postural strengthening
- Relaxation and self-management techniques
- Skilled hands on mobilization
- Therapeutic use of ice/heat, ultrasound, iontophoresis and electrical stimulation