TMJTreatment for TMJ at New Body – New Mind
How do we treat TMJ?
New Body – New Mind has a holistic philosophy, therefore when treating TMJ we integrate manual therapy, elements of traditional physical therapy, hypnosis and other unconventional approaches. We understand that each person has a unique physical and emotional makeup, so our treatments are always tailored to each patient’s specific needs and preferences.
Our treatment for TMJ begins with an evaluation to determine the possible causes of your symptoms. During this evaluation, we will:
- Assess the function of your jaw joint (range of motion, quality of movement, closing and opening trajectory, etc.)
- Look at your static posture (especially the position of your neck, jaw, and tongue) and alignment of your joints. We will also assess your dynamic postures and movement patterns.
- Evaluate the level of activation of your face and neck muscles at rest and during movements of the body.
- Check how you breathe.
- Discuss your life-style to determine the emotional and physical demands placed on your mind and body during work and other daily activities, exercise habits and recreational activities.
- Obtain information about your medical history.
- Lastly, we’ll ask you to explain to us what you are expecting from your treatment and we’ll help you to develop specific functional goals.
The information we gather during the evaluation will help us to determine the predisposing, causative, and perpetuating factors and allow us to develop an appropriate treatment plan for your TMJ.
Treatment for TMJ caused by chronically tight face muscles:
If our evaluation concludes that muscular dysfunction is the primary cause of your TMJ, we typically use the following protocol:
- Our first goal is to resolve muscle imbalances and eliminate myofascial trigger points through:
- Passive manipulation of the tight tissues of your face, mouth, head, neck, shoulders, and upper back using manual therapy techniques such as trigger point release, myofascial release, soft tissue massage, and strain-counterstrain. Craniosacral therapy may also be beneficial for some patients. We may use therapeutic modalities, such as ultrasound, to heat up tight muscles in preparation for manual therapy or to decrease inflammation and pain and promote tissue healing.
- Active posture retraining and posture modification through neuromuscular re-education, exercise, functional activities, and relaxation training.
- Many of our patients choose to engage in hypnotherapy in order to manage stress, optimize posture and breathing patterns and gain control over grinding or clenching of teeth.
- After your jaw or face pain is resolved and optimal tissue balance is restored (thus optimal structure achieved and maintained), we start working on function through individualized, therapeutic exercise. Appropriate activation of your face and neck muscles during functional activities is the final goal of this stage of your rehabilitation program.
Throughout this entire process, you will learn self-management techniques appropriate for your condition and stage of recovery.
If we determine that you may benefit from the use of a dental appliance to balance your bite and optimally align the jaw, we will work with your dentist or, if you don’t have a dental specialist in TMJ, we will gladly refer you to one.
Treatment for TMJ caused by jaw joint dysfunction:
If during your initial evaluation (or at any point of your treatment process) we establish that your TMJ symptoms are at least partially related to a true joint dysfunction, we’ll refer you to a dentist who specializes in treatment of TMJ for appropriate diagnostics (panoramic x-rays, and if indicated an MRI or CT scan) and fabrication of a jaw appliance. We’ll then work together with the dentist, supporting their interventions through use of modalities (e.g. ultrasound), jaw stretching, joint mobilization (or stabilization), and movement retraining exercises. We’ll also work on the involved muscles, as described in the muscular dysfunction protocol listed above.