If you have pain in your jaw on one or both sides, you may have a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. (You will also hear this referred to as TMJ.) Your jaw may hurt, the muscles of your face may feel like they are in spasm, and you may feel clicking and catching in your jaw. These symptoms may make eating and talking painful or impossible.
There are many different treatments for TMD. You may benefit from medicine or massage, and some people even have surgery to correct the problem. Physical therapy for TMD is another option to help you relieve jaw pain.
What Is TMD?
Temporomandibular joint disorders, known as TMD, is a condition that can cause significant difficulty using your jaw. The condition is marked by pain in your jaw that limits your ability to comfortably open and close your mouth. You may also experience clicking or “catching” while chewing food, yawning, or talking.
Symptoms of TMD tend to come on gradually with no specific injury or event. You may notice the pain starts after eating hard foods. The pain typically is intermittent in nature, and it usually comes on after using your jaw to eat hard foods or opening your mouth wide, as you would during yawning.
Benefits of Physical Therapy for TMD
Your physical therapist may use various treatments for your TMD. These treatments are designed to decrease inflammation and pain, improve posture, improve jaw mobility, and help you regain normal function of your jaw. Treatments may include many potential methods for rehabilitating your joint.
Timeline for Healing
Most cases of temporomandibular joint pain get better within six to eight weeks. Working with your PT and performing regular exercises can help in your recovery. Some cases may take longer, and some people continue with symptoms after treatment.
If this is the case, you should return to your doctor for follow up care. Some patients benefit from other treatments such as wearing a mouthguard while sleeping or surgery for their TMD.
C.A.R.E. Physical Therapy Lake Forest specializes in Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD). Call our office at 949.446.4460 to schedule an appointment.