What helps TMJ pain?

What helps TMJ pain?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain is just a subset of symptoms under a larger umbrella term entitled, Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are defined by a set of clinical signs that affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the masticatory muscles, and related structures involved in the movements of the TMJ.

What are treatment options for TMD?

  • The most common and first line of treatment is the use of a splint or oral appliance. This is typically prescribed by your dentist even though there are online options available now.

  • Another common treatment approach involves oral medications — known as pharmacological agents. These typically are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers, anti-depressants and other analgesics.

  • There are many causes of TMD, which can go beyond just a physical and structural muscle, tooth and joint issue. Emotional and psychological treatments are available to provide support.

  • In severe cases, there are some surgical techniques but this is rare.

  • A very common and successful approach is through the use of physical therapy.

    • Physical therapists typically work alongside a dental team to provide manual techniques, exercises, sleep advice, postural advice, stretches and other modalities to help pain and improve function of the jaw.

    • If you seek out a comprehensive therapist, you will get treatments to the joints and muscles of not only to the jaw / orofacial region; but also to the neck and upper quarter (i.e. shoulder and upper back).

A common question from patients is —- what is best for me?

Many patients start out with home remedies and already taking medications prior to seeking out my care. Therefore, I am unaware of how many patients who have jaw pain simply respond to a short duration pharmacological approach versus needing other treatments.

Therefore, when someone seeks out my care, I usually advice to go as conservative as possible. Meaning, to first go with non-invasive splint or oral appliance, inspect your daily stress levels and physical therapy. I also advice to make sure you choose a therapist who is trained in treating TMD and can provide a comprehensive approach versus general exercise that you find online.

In most cases, these treatments by themselves or in combination usually works well most of the time.

If you are having TMJ pain or have TMD, feel free to contact us to see how we can help you.

Call us: 919-728-0335