Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

This program is available at the following locations:

Carlsbad, CA
Escondido-Valley, CA
Ramona, CA
San Marcos, CA

It is estimated that as much as 20% of the population suffers from TMD at some point in their lives. Dental and medical doctors are essential in diagnosing and establishing a treatment regimen for this pathology. Because TMD is a mechanical dysfunction, physical therapy can be of great help in most cases requiring rehabilitation.

Postural faults often contribute to TMD by resulting in cervical imbalances, tight anterior chest, upper back and shoulder musculature. Muscular trigger points in the cervical and cranial regions can refer pain into the areas associated with TMD pain. Tension and stress also play a significant role in TMD rehabilitation.

Physical therapists are trained in the anatomy and kinematics of the temporomandibular (TM) joint as well as the related structures. Postural training, cervical mobilization, and biofeedback modalities are all used--in addition to TM joint mobilization--to address and relieve TMD. Physical therapy will complement most treatment regimens instituted by dental and medical doctors.

Therapeutic treatment of TMD Includes:

  • Soft-tissue mobilization
    • Cervical and TMJ
    • Anterior shoulder/chest
  • TM joint mobilization
  • Cervical spine mobilization
  • Electrical simulation and ultrasound
  • Surface EMG biofeedback
  • Stress/tension awareness and management
  • Home exercise programs and techniques

Physical Therapy Goals Include:

  • Decrease abnormal muscle tone
  • Restore normal resting tension/length in muscles of mastication
  • Improve TM joint biomechanics
  • Reduce clenching
  • Treat associated cervical dysfunction
  • Resolve tension headaches resulting from muscle contraction
  • Teach self-management skills