What are symptoms of TMJ pain?

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) is a collective term that embraces a number of clinical problems that involve the masticatory muscles, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the associated structures. Therefore, even though TMJ is commonly used to describe disorders in this area, the rehabilitative and dental communities are moving towards the use of TMD.

What are symptoms of TMJ pain?

Common symptoms of TMDs from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research include:

  • pain in the TMJ or surrounding area,

  • joint noises,

  • limited range of motion,

  • sensitive teeth,

  • bruxism,

  • and poor occlusion

Additionally, patients with TMJ pain have the following signs and symptoms:

  • muscle soreness

  • joint soreness

  • altered movement

  • facial pain

  • tooth chipping and tooth movement.

Your dentist or physical therapist with specialization in TMD treatment will classify you into 1 (or multiple) categories based off of your signs and symptoms. These categories from same research group are:

  • myofascial pain, defined as “discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function”

  • internal derangement, defined as “a displaced disc, dislocated jaw, or injury to the condyle”;

  • arthritis, defined as “a group of degenerative/ inflammatory joint disorders that can affect the temporomandibular joint.”

How can Physical Therapy treatment help me?

Physical therapy is commonly utilized in the treatment of patients with TMD and TMJ pain, toward the general goals of:

  • reducing adverse loading and pain to the jaw and neck.

  • facilitating a return to full, pain-free function of the jaw and neck.

Manual therapy is a common procedure to help you. At PhysioFit of North Carolina, we utilize several manual therapy procedures, including:

  • joint mobilization / manipulation

  • fascial manipulation / mobilization

  • myofascial (soft tissue) release

We also use techniques to improve range of motion while at the same time eliminating pain. These techniques are intended to allow for pain free motion of the jaw and depending on presentation, has the ability to be applied as home exercises. The exercises are then specific and tailored to you, and not just exercises you find online!

If you are having TMJ pain, contact us to see how we can help you or even speak with your dentist to let them know there are options available in your local community.

Call us: 919-728-0335