A specialized TMJ therapist helps restore normal joint mobility with manual joint and soft tissue mobilization plus instruction of appropriate home exercises for the patient. Specific manual therapy techniques and modalities help reduce the patient’s pain and swelling, which enhances the success of joint stability and/or mobility exercises.
Consistent communication with the referring doctor is ensured through a written evaluation and subsequent progress reports.
The ultimate goal of physical therapy is to support ongoing medical/dental care and to empower patients to independently manage their symptoms. This is accomplished by reducing postural stress, improving upon poor oral habits, restoring normal joint mechanics, and alleviating muscular and soft tissue tightness.
A typical TMJ evaluation consists of:
- Pertinent history of TMJ, head, and neck
- Current medical/dental treatments
- Oral behaviors and parafunctional activity
- Swallowing pattern
- Postural analysis
- Cervical and oral range of motion
- Joint auscultation
- Palpation of muscle tone
- Muscle strength testing
Commonly Treated Problems:
- Internal derangement
- Occlusal (splint) related support
- Orthognathic conditions (post-op)
- Post-procedure trismus
- Myofascial pain dysfunction
- Cervical spine pathologies