Magic tricks and your TMJ pain
Posted by Dr. Liz Sims, PT - Redpoint Physical Therapy, Plymouth, MA
Last week, I felt like a magician! But you would, too, if you were able to significantly reduce symptoms of chronic jaw pain and clicking - commonly known as TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder - in just a few visits!
That's right... It might be the quick, magical fix you've been waiting for! While treatment may carry on to restore normal alignment or strength in your neck or shoulders, the jaw pain you come in with might all but resolve in about 3 visits (no promises, but I *have* been on a roll!).
Not sure what I'm talking about? Check out this list of symptoms from tmj.org:
Symptoms can include:
Pain in the jaw muscles.
Pain in the neck and shoulders.
Jaw muscle stiffness.
Limited movement or locking of the jaw.
Ear pain, pressure.
Painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth.
A bite that feels "off".
It might be more than your jaw that's affected... A study done on more than 1500 people affected by TMD ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21178593/) (that's a fairly powerful study size, my friends!) revealed "a higher frequency of headaches, allergies, depression, fatigue, degenerative arthritis, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, sleep apnea, and gastrointestinal complaints"... many of which were 6 times more likely to occur after being diagnosed with TMJ disorder.
The study also showed that 60% reported moderate-to-severe intensity, and about 25% experienced some disruption with work-related activities.
Does any of this sound familiar? Do you know that PT can significantly help, or actually resolve your symptoms?
Unlike the dentist, who will give you a bite guard to protect your teeth (that is important, too, but it's like giving you aspirin for chronic headaches due to tension in your neck - it treats a symptom, not the root cause of the problem!), PT will restore normal mobility to your muscles and joints in your jaw and neck (yep, sing with me, "the jaw bone's connected to the neck bone!"). In just 1 visit, you will notice a difference! How cool is that?
I worked with 2 patients with TMD last week, and 5 since I opened my doors. I’d like more, since they’re fun and quick and make me feel like a hero :)
Here are some quick exercises to try on your own if you're struggling with TMD. Remember, it is important to only perform these exercises to the extent you are able to without clicking or deviating out of alignment.
As always, feel free to stop in or call for a free 15 minute consultation! How long have you had jaw pain for?