Physical Therapy for Temporomandibular Disorders
A physical therapist can develop a program for you that includes learning and practicing techniques for regaining normal jaw movement.
The focus of physical therapy for temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) is relaxation, stretching, and releasing tight muscles and scar tissue. Physical therapy is an especially important part of recovery from TM joint surgery, as it helps minimize scar tissue formation and muscle tightness.
Physical therapy techniques may include:
1. Jaw exercises to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility and range of motion.
2. Heat therapy to improve blood circulation in the jaw.
3. Ice therapy to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
4. Massage to relieve overall muscle tension.
5. Training to improve posture and correct jaw alignment.
6. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which is the application of a mild electrical current to the skin over the jaw joint. This electrical current is thought to interfere with the body's pain signals. TENS relaxes muscles, improves blood circulation, and relieves pain.
The effectiveness of TENS varies, but it seems to work for some people.
Movement of the temporomandibular (TM) joint to release scar tissue that restricts muscle movement and to improve range of motion.
Ultrasound therapy, which uses high-frequency sound waves directed to the TM joint, to reduce pain and swelling and improve circulation.