The title represents a rather important question about dealing with TMJ disorders. But before we get to the answer, let us understand what is a TMJ joint, and what are the implications of the disorders caused by its dysfunction. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is known to be the most complex structure in the body. It functions to perform translational and rotational movements because of the double articulation of the temporal bone condyle. It presents two joints connected to the mandible and is vulnerable to functional or pathological alterations that cause disorders like temporomandibular disorder or TMJ dysfunction. Let us learn how to adapt physical therapy for coping with such disorders and eliminate the pain that accompanies.
Identifying the symptoms
One of the most important roles of physical therapy is to help identify the symptoms of and present the correct diagnosis for TMJ dysfunction. The analysis done by physical therapists helps the patients to understand why they are facing difficulty and pain in the mouth region. Some of the major symptoms may include a clicking sound while moving the jay, facing discomfort while biting or chewing, facial pains or earaches, reduced range of motion, tender jaw as well as fibromyalgia. A huge population of the country suffers from TMJ dysfunction and it is important to correctly identify the disorder to appropriately seek the necessary treatments.
Therapeutic exercises help improve the motion
Since the lack of the capability to have a complete range of motion is one of the most prominent complaints in patients with TMJ dysfunction, physical therapy helps through exercises. There are several therapists assisted as well as independent exercises. These are aimed at improving the flexibility of the jaw. There are some popular ones like Kraus’s exercises and self-mobilization techniques that can immensely improve the range of motion and assist in the effortless movement of the jaws. The recommended therapeutic exercises should be performed with consistency and regularity to observe some relief in the restriction of the movement.
Manual therapy to relieve the tension
The manual manipulation of the muscles and joints around the jaws and affected areas in the neck also make into the list of the physical therapy modalities that can help cope with TMJ dysfunction. This is done to increase the circulation and flow of blood in the affected regions and provide some acceleration to inherent healing chemicals and cells. TMJ disorders are a musculoskeletal issue that is to stay with the patient hence manual therapy is a way of decreasing the residual pain that comes with it and constantly hurts the patients.
Ice and heat therapy for eliminating pain
The implementation of varying temperatures through these modalities is essentially to reduce the swelling, decrease the pain, and enhance the blood circulation. The therapists decided on whether heat or ice therapy is to be performed as well as the duration of the therapy. All this, when combined with soft tissue and joint mobilization creates an appropriate action plan for the treatment of the condition.
Finally, TENS helps in relaxation
Application of a mild electrical current to the skin over the jaw joint through Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) help is interfering with the pain signals. This kind of electrical current is known to be extremely beneficial and works differently from person to person. It guarantees the relaxation of the muscle and prohibits the development of scar tissue if the patient has undergone surgery to fix the underlying problem. Some other modalities like ultrasound therapy and postural alignment are also implemented as per the severity of the patient’s condition. All the physical therapy techniques combined make an effective treatment plan to deal with TMJ dysfunction.