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Physical Therapy for Temporomandibular Disorders

Table of Contents

Treatment Overview

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:

What To Expect

After a physical therapy session, you should rest the jaw, try to control habits that cause jaw pain, and avoid chewing foods that stress the joint.

Why It Is Done

Physical therapy:

How Well It Works

Physical therapy is important to the success of both surgical and nonsurgical treatments for TMDs.1

Risks

Any therapy that involves physical movement of the jaw may make joint problems worse. And this therapy must be done by an experienced professional.

What To Think About

Do not begin physical therapy and jaw exercises to improve jaw range of motion until your doctor has determined what type of TM joint problem you have and what jaw structures are affected.

References

Citations

  1. Scrivani SJ, et al. (2008). Temporomandibular disorders. New England Journal of Medicine, 359(25): 2693–2705.

Credits for Physical Therapy for Temporomandibular Disorders

Current as of: July 28, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine


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