Does physical therapy help alleviate TMJ pain?

Does physical therapy help alleviate TMJ pain? Physical therapy may help alleviate TMJ pain when administered by a licensed practitioner in coordination with a dentist specializing in TMJ treatments. In recent years, there has been a great deal of progress in the understanding of the physiology of pain. This is especially beneficial for patients suffering from temporomandibular disorders because therapeutic and nonsurgical treatments have reduced the need for surgery in most circumstances. The most common treatments for TMJ include biobehavioral therapy, pharmacologic
management (prescription medication), physical therapy, botulinum toxin (Botox), acupuncture, laser therapy, orthopedic appliance therapy, occlusal therapy (orthodontics), prosthodontic therapy, and surgery. Every case is unique, so you should always consult a certified practitioner before undergoing physical therapy for TMJ. Muscle and joint remobilization techniques may improve overall functionality of the temporomandibular joint. Physical therapists will have the patient undergo individualized treatments to reduce muscle stiffness and alleviate stressors on the joint and disc. Patients should be encouraged to always maintain proper posture to maximize the effectiveness of treatment.
Common physical therapies administered to patients suffering from temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are manual therapy, soft tissue mobilization, and targeted exercises. The practitioner may manually massage or manipulate certain muscles of have the patient perform exercises to encourage normal disc movement and reduce overall pain. Over time, patients undergoing physical therapy will likely resume normal jaw function and experience a subsequent decline in symptoms of pain associated with TMDs. Before undertaking any physical therapy regimen, it is important to establish whether or not the patient is even a candidate for TMJ treatment by understanding the root cause of pain. The optimal treatment plan may involve physical therapy alone or physical therapy in conjunction with the use of customized dental appliances or prescription medications. In more exceptional circumstances, especially in cases involving facial trauma or whiplash, surgical treatments may be necessary. If you are looking to undergo physical therapy for symptoms of
TMJ, please contact Dr. Federman’s office to schedule an initial evaluation. If Dr. Federman believes that your symptoms are the result of TMJ and you would be an ideal candidate for physical therapy, he will recommend an experienced practitioner and coordinate with them to develop an individualized treatment plan.