Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your jaw to the side of your head. It’s the most constantly used joint in your body.
Symptoms of TMJ problems
Ask for an evaluation for temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) if you experience:
- Difficulty opening your mouth
- Popping or clicking sounds in your jaw
- Pain in your jaw, cheeks, ears and/or neck
- Tired feeling in your jaw
Jaw pain also can be a symptom of heart attack. Call 9-1-1 right away if jaw pain is accompanied by:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Numbness or pain in your left arm
Your first appointment
Your physical therapist (PT) will start by:
- Reviewing your medical history.
- Asking about your symptoms.
- Checking your posture.
- Examining your jaw to see how well it moves and works.
Then, you’ll work together to create a personalized care plan to decrease pain in your jaw and neck. If it looks like your pain is caused by teeth alignment, your PT may refer you to a dentist.
Your TMJ care plan may include:
- Biofeedback therapy
- Dry needling
- Education on body mechanics (how our bodies move) and body posture
- Heat or cold therapy
- Manual therapy
- Tips to relieve stress on your jaw and protect your joint