The temperomandibular joint or TMJ is the hinge joint of the jaw. Its dysfunction can cause numerous problems involving pain, headaches, difficulty chewing, talking, and even opening and closing of the mouth. Many factors contribute to the TMJ dysfunction including muscle spasm and tightness, clenching/grinding one’s teeth, and problems involving the musculoskeletal system of the cranium and cervical spine (neck).
Physical therapy can help patients with TMJ problems with treatments that include manual techniques, massage therapy, therapeutic exercise, and a home program. Additionally, posture can be a large contributor to TMJ dysfunction so postural re-education and exercises are usually included as well.