Tempromandibular Pain

Tempromandibular Disorder (TMD) is made up of symptoms that involve the jaw and surrounding facial muscles, teeth, ears, and neck.

Common symptoms include:

  • TMJ pain (pain in the joint)
  • Face or jaw pain
  • Ear pain
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Joint sounds (popping, clicking, or grinding)
  • Muscle pain and/or tenderness
  • Limited mouth opening or closing, or sideward movements
  • Neck Pain

Note: a person may have one or more of these conditions at the same time.

Treatment will usually consist of a combination of exercise, manipulation, mobilization, stretching, heat, and electric stimulation.

Free Screen on Us

We offer complimentary screens at all RET locations. If you’ve been dealing with a nagging injury or persistent pain, don’t wait any longer.

Common Causes of TMD:

  • Myofascial pain: The most common form of TMD; discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function and the neck and shoulder muscles.
  • Internal Derangement of the Joint: a dislocated jaw or displaced disc, or injury to the condyle.
  • Degenerative Joint Disease: such as osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis in the jaw joint.

TMJ Treatment: How a Physical Therapist Can Help

Your physical therapist can help restore the natural movement of your jaw and decrease your pain. If the therapist determines that your jaw pain is not related to teeth alignment, the therapist will select treatments that will work best for you. TMJ treatments used by physical therapists for TMD include:

Posture Education

If your therapist finds that you sit with your head in an increased forward position, this means that you are placing greater strain on the muscles beneath your chin, causing the lower jaw to pull back and the mouth to be in an open position even when resting, and increasing stress on the TMJ. You also might be overworking the jaw muscles to force the jaw closed so your mouth isn't open all the time. Your therapist will teach you to be aware of your posture so that you can improve the resting position of your jaw, head, neck, breastbone, and shoulder blades when you're sitting and walking.

Improve Jaw Movement

Physical therapists use skilled hand movements called manual therapy to increase movement and relieve pain in tissues and joints. Your therapist also might use manual therapy to stretch the jaw in order to restore normal joint and muscle flexibility (how supple your muscles are) or break up scar tissues ("adhesions") that sometimes develop when there is constant injury.

Your physical therapist will teach you special "low-load" exercises-exercises that don't exert a lot of pressure on your TMJ but that can strengthen the muscles of the jaw and restore a more natural, pain-free motion.

Maintaining good sitting posture is key to preventing TMJ problems. Your physical therapist will show you how to maintain good sitting posture to prevent future episodes of TMD.

Ready to improve your quality of life? Let us help you get back to where you want to be.

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Here’s what some of our patients had to say...

I started PT after a car accident. The staff was extremely helpful not just with injuries from the accident, but also other issues that had been bothering me. They are very good at communicating problems and solutions and are friendly to boot. Can’t recommend enough.

five stars Kevin RET Patient

Attentive, responsive, pleasant in communication, knowledgeable staff. I got good results in a short time. Thankful to Dr. Andrew for useful information and for a program of exercises.

five stars Elena RET Patient

Doug Free, the manager at Mercer Island Physical Therapy, has a PhD in PT, and is an amazing diagnostic doctor who explains why a specific injury occurred. He also does fabulous work on your body. His entire staff is knowledgeable and excellent therapists. 

five stars Gary RET Patient

I saw Anne at 7 weeks post ulnar nerve transposition. I’ve made more progress in 1 week with her than I did in those first 7.  She is extremely knowledgeable and up to date on current research.  I’d feel very good about sending my family and friends her way!

five stars Holli RET Patient

Kelly is amazing! I felt very comfortable and she asked all of the right questions, was super friendly, and knows exactly how to help. I always leave feeling so much better, and confident that if I do my exercises, I will heal!

five stars Kelsey RET Patient

Michelle has been amazing to work with. She quickly diagnosed the root cause of the issues that continued to plague me after recovering from hip replacement surgery that other PT’s (different companies) could not. She listens, is creative, resourceful, and very knowledgeable. Everyone at the clinic is always very professional and interested in our progress.

five stars Conrac RET Patient

I have been going to Summit Therapy for a shoulder problem. I’ve made steady progress and have gotten much pain relief. The staff is very friendly and great to work with. I recently had a sudden problem of vertigo. My therapist knew exactly what to do and performed a treatment that stopped the dizziness.

five stars Patricia RET Patient