Montalto Physical Therapy opened in August of 2007. As a private practice, Montalto Physical Therapy greatly appreciates the relationship it has with the members of the local community. It is this very relationship that has helped us consistently grow over the years.
TMJ Dysfunction can also be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, gum chewing, arthritis, teeth grinding or jaw injury. Symptoms of this TMJ disorder include pain in the jaw, jaw popping, headaches, sore jaw muscles, locking of the jaw, pain in the temple and earache. It’s important to realize that the temporomandibular joint is a complex and important structure comprised of bones, tendons and muscles, and you may have pain on one or both sides of the jaw.
There is no specific method of diagnosing TMJ. A physician will take your medical history and do an exam. Your physician may also send you to a dentist specializing in jaw disorders or to an otolaryngologist. Your symptoms may be due to a condition known as trigeminal neuralgia, salivary gland disease or even swollen lymph nodes. The idea is to rule out other medical problems.
The most common form of headaches are known as tension headaches. These can occur due to repetitive motions or poor posture in the neck/head. Tension headaches are caused by a strain on the “dura mater,” which is a sensitive membrane that envelops the brain. The dura mater lies in close proximity to small muscles at the base of the skull that go into spasm when the dura mater becomes strained, thus sending pain signals to the brain and causing your headache.
Sometimes, home remedies can relieve the symptoms of TMJ syndrome. Some people respond well to over-the-counter meds like ibuprofen and aspirin. Ice packs applied to the jaw joint may also help. Sedative essential oils, such as clary sage and lavender may give temporary relief. When home remedies don’t work, medical treatment may be needed. A jaw specialist may use a dental splint to keep teeth properly aligned and to prevent teeth grinding. Other types of medical treatment include trigger point acupuncture, joint replacement or a TMJ arthroscopy. Muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory meds may also be prescribed.
Physical therapy is effective in the treatment of TMJ. A physical therapist will analyze your jaw mobility and release muscle tension in the neck and head area. A comprehensive evaluation is done of the neck, shoulder girdle and thoracic spine to determine if those structures are causing your symptoms. The goal of physical therapy is to restore the interaction of the muscles and joints and to restore normal function. Treatment may consist of different modalities. Active modalities include soft tissue massage, joint mobilization, myofascial techniques and jaw exercises. Electric stimulation and ultrasound may be used to decrease muscle tension and provide pain relief. In addition, a physical therapist can educate you on dietary changes that will decrease stress on the jaw joint.
More and more, dentists are working with specialized physical therapists to deliver effective treatment for patients with TMJ disorder. This team effort has led to an improvement in over 80 percent of cases. Working with a physical therapist who understands craniofacial disorders is crucial to success. These specialized physical therapists will understand the relationship between the neck and teeth areas. This team effort is successful because the dentist can explain the underlying problems and help the therapist design custom exercises.
When physical therapists treat patients with TMJ, the goal is to improve mobility and alignment along with strengthening the muscles. And if the patient has scar tissue, they can help treat that too.
Are you having difficulty chewing or yawning? Do you have jaw pain? Do you hear a clicking noise when you open and shut your mouth? These may all be signs of TMJ syndrome. Don’t suffer anymore. A physical therapist can help you manage and eliminate symptoms. Be sure to schedule an appointment and get a thorough evaluation. Our Long Island area physical therapists have helped many who suffer from TMJ disorder and can help you too. We are patient-centric and committed to your health. For more information, contact us today at our Oyster Bay location in the middle of Nassau and Suffolk County.