The more I read (and wrote) about TMJ/TMD, the more I was thankful that I have never had this problem. And I have a feeling that those people our physical therapists treat are especially grateful for their specialized training and knowledge.
What you should know about TMJ and TMD
with advice from Renee Bailey, PTA
and Pressure Positive
Temporomandibular joint disorders or dysfunction, often referred to as TMJ or TMD, cover a wide variety of problems, most commonly pain and muscular tightness in the jaw. You’ve no doubt heard of this problem, but did you know that physical therapy is one of the solutions?
TMD can be a result of a variety of causes, explains Renee Bailey, a physical therapist assistant at Conshohocken Physical Therapy, a Physiquality member in Pennsylvania. “Symptoms can arise from something as simple as bad posture habits, or it can be a result of trauma to the joint, like a direct hit or impact, a whiplash injury, or even clenching or grinding your teeth,” she says.
The most widely reported symptom of TMD is pain, which can range from the jaw to the neck, ears and shoulders and can also present as a headache. Other symptoms noted by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research include stiffness in the jaw muscles and joint; limited movement or locking of the jaw; clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening/closing the mouth and while chewing; difficulty swallowing; and changes in how the upper and lower teeth fit together. Renee has also seen patients that experienced ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and dizziness.