Updated: Sep 29, 2020
If you're experiencing jaw pain or clicking, difficulty opening wide, pain with chewing and fatigue in the jaw, you can be suffering from TMJ pain. You may also be experiencing neck pain and headaches. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, it's a constant reminder that you're not living at 100%. No matter what you're doing, it's there saying hello. What has me scratching my head is why do people wait so long to seek help? I noticed that on average people wait 6-12 months before they come in for physical therapy… That’s just enough time to let the restrictions get worse and extend your recovery time in therapy!
The best thing you can do while experiencing these symptoms is to take action quickly. The quicker you act, the quicker you recover, often you can have relief after only your first visit….if you have a Doctor of Physical Therapy who knows what they are doing. So what makes one therapist better than the next? Of course there's having ‘good hands’ AKA treatment skills, showing patience, providing 1 on 1 treatment sessions, good listening skills, or being available to reach for questions outside appointment times. However, perhaps the most important skill which will save you, the patient, valuable time and return you back to your pain-free life quickly is… their diagnostic skills! Their ability to identify the true, actual, root cause of the problem through a thorough examination and continued re-examination each visit. That means the part that's causing your TMJ issue is actually being treated!
All too often are patients seeing professionals who are using the cookie cutter approach and treating the wrong thing! It’s like when you get a haircut, tell your barber what you want different this time and then walk out with the same cut you always get! It’s a simple case of someone being set in their ways and not wanting to change. But that is not acceptable when it comes to your health.
So what could your ideal Doctor of Physical Therapy be assessing as the root cause of your problem? It could be adhesions or spasms in the muscles that act on the jaw such as the Masseter or Temporalis. The articular disc of the TMJ could be moving improperly. The TMJ capsule (ligaments that hold the joint together) could be tight, restricting movement. Impaired motor control meaning the muscles on each side of the jaw are not firing synchronously. Your posture may be off causing tightness in all the wrong places, this in turn applies excessive tension on the jaw itself.
As you can see there are many potential causes of your pain. If you want to get rid of it once and for all and get back to living life as the best version of yourself...Take action! Get evaluated and treated by a specialist TMJ physical therapist today!
If you are looking for IMMEDIATE RELIEF, make sure to download our free guide, " 7 Simple Ways to Relieve TMJ Pain & Headaches Without Pain Medications, Injections and Surgery."