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TMD - Temperalmadibular Dysfunction. Formerly TMJ

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

The Temporomandibular Joint, commonly referred to as the TMJ, is perhaps one of the most utilized regions of the body.  Between the basic tasks of talking and eating, this joint sees a lot of stress each and every day.   As a result, it can be a source of pain for many individuals.  People that have TMJ dysfunction often complain of headaches, neck pain, jaw pain, stiffness, decreased ability to open or close the mouth, or having to alter diet due to inability to eat foods of a certain consistency or size.  Many people think that this is a region of the body that should be treated solely by a dentist with or without mouth guards.  But what most people do not know is that physical therapy can and has been shown to reduce joint or muscle pain, improve mobility, decrease headaches, and improve posture.  

How can a physical therapist help with TMJ Dysfunction?

Physical therapists are highly skilled healthcare professionals that specialize in the science of anatomy and kinesiology, or, simply stated, the way that muscles, bones, and other tissues interact and coordinate with one another to move the body through space.  After a thorough, one-on-one initial examination, a physical therapist can utilize many skills to help with TMJ pain or dysfunction via:
- Manual therapy to improve mobility, range of motion, and to decrease pain
- Therapeutic exercise to improve strength and range of motion to reduce stress on joints
­- Postural and stabilization training to unload painful tissue and reduce pain associated with prolonged sitting
- Patient education and home exercise instruction to help recognize warning signs of a flare up, how to stretch and strengthen certain musculature, and prevent the problem from coming back
- Ergonomic advice in terms of work station set up, diet modifications, and even stress reduction techniques

 What are patients are saying:

 “I would recommend Excel to anyone with TMJ who doesn’t want to go the medication/ mouth guard route. I’m so glad I found Excel and can now live a pain free life!!” K. Cox

“When I first started coming here I could hardly open my jaw and was only drinking smoothies because of how badly it hurt. Now I am back to my old diet with no pain. I never thought it could get this better this quickly.” Sarah O.