TMJ and TM Disorders Therapy

Our TMJ and TM disorders therapy resolves your chronic TM joint pain, cervicogenic headaches and neck pain by providing expert physical therapy that decreases muscle guarding, improves neck and TM joint range of motion and improves posture.

We treat all conditions related to jaw pain, neck pain and headaches.  TM joint pain is a general term that more broadly falls under a category of problems called “temporomandibular disorders” (TMD). We specialize in providing TMJ and TM disorders therapy, right here in our PT clinic in Cascade of Grand Rapids, Michigan or via telehealth.  We treat many jaw pain conditions including TMD, Temporomandibular Disorders, TMJ Syndrome, TM Joint Disorders, TM Joint Myofascial Pain, Neck Pain, Neck arthritis, cervical degenerative disc disease, Cervicogenic Headaches, tension in the jaw and chronic jaw pain.

If you have chronic jaw pain or neck pain, we can help you.

Our experienced doctors of physical therapy have training specific to evaluating and treating TM joint disorders, headaches related to the TM joint, neck pain and cervicogenic headaches.

Your treatment begins with the first phone call.  Contact us at (616) 516-4334 to learn if we can help you or submit this online inquiry and we will be in touch with you to discuss your needs.

We provide expert physical therapy to your face, jaw, head, neck and thoracic spine with a goal of reducing your pain, improving your jaw function, including opening, closing and chewing and addressing neck stiffness, pain and posture.

What Can You Expect for Your TMJ and TM Disorders Therapy Treatment?

We are fully trained in TMJ and TM Disorders therapy.  Our techniques and methods alleviate your joint and muscle pain.

*We begin by discussing your history and symptoms. It helps to know what things make it better or worse, common eating and chewing habits, exercise choices, sleep postures and difficulties.  We build our treatment program for your TMJ and TM disorder using therapy methods designed to decrease pain.

Every appointment is private, upto 55 minutes long and with the same licensed physical therapist.

*We fully evaluate and treat your jaw, neck, shoulders and thoracic spine. We will assess your posture, neck range of motion, thoracic mobility, jaw open and close ability, quality of motion when you move your jaw, muscular stiffness, trigger points or tenderness in the jaw muscles, face, skull, neck and shoulders. We assess strength of a variety of muscles, including the deep neck stabilizers, shoulders and upper back.
*Your treatment will be mostly hands-on manual therapy methods to alleviate myofascial restrictions and joint stiffness. We provide trigger point release and myofascial mobilization methods inside the mouth to specific muscles known to contribute to TM joint pain. We also provide these manual therapy methods to the face, neck and head. We gently mobilize the TM joint and neck joints to alleviate stiffness and optimize the range of motion of these joints.
*We complete exercises to restore posture and address muscle weakness or imbalances. Our goal is to improve your ability to fluidly open and close your mouth, strengthen up your postural muscles and ease head and neck stiffness and tension. We may use mirrors to help you see how your muscles are deviating your jaw to one side or the other.
*We treat you holistically. TM joint pain can affect the whole body that’s why our TMD and TMJ therapy is comprehensive. In fact, many of our pelvic patients also have TM joint disorders. You can expect that we will assess and treat all contributing factors in your pain. You may be pleasantly surprised to find our licensed physical therapists have post-doctoral training in treating the entire body and in myofascial mobilization, nerve gliding, joint mobilization and posture corrective exercises, among other things.
*We educate you on exercises and habits you can include in your routine to improve jaw pain and mobility, posture, headaches and neck pain.
*All patients who have TM joint pain receive treatment to their neck at every visit, because the neck and jaw pain are always related. Our gentle, manual therapy methods to your neck will leave you feeling more relaxed and with less muscle guarding and tension. TMJ and TM disorders therapy would not be effective if we neglected to treat your neck.

Patients finish appointments and tell us “I feel so much better.”

If you are interested in learning more, contact us at (616)516-4334 or submit this online inquiry and we will be in touch to discuss your needs.

It is our goal to provide you relief at every appointment for your TMJ pain. We are here to meet your needs and get you feeling better. We partner with you to find the best path forward for you.

TMJ and TM Disorders therapy and the condition, explained

The temporomandibular joint is your jaw joint and TMD is a condition that can cause jaw pain, difficulty opening or closing your jaw, clicking, facial pain, and head or neck pain. There are many types of temporomandibular disorders and “Myalgia” or “myofascial pain” is the most prevalent cause of TM joint pain. Fortunately, we are licensed physical therapists who specialize in resolving myofascial pain and optimizing joint mobility, key components of effective TMJ and TM disorders therapy.

People who have TMJ disorders have a substantially higher rate of headache and neck pain occurring, as well. This is why every patient we treat who has a TMD, will also be evaluated and treated for their neck and thoracic spine.

There are numerous common pain conditions related to the TM joint. We treat all of these with our TMJ and TM Disorders Therapy. We like to partner with your dentist if you need jaw or bite correction, as well.

*Myalgia: People who have TMD myalgia will experience pain in the jaw, temple, ear and pain with movement or function of the jaw (talking, chewing, yawning)
*Local Myalgia: This is a type of TMD that causes the chewing muscles (the masseter) and another muscle in the head, the temporalis to be painful when they are touched. If your jaw muscles ache and you don’t have pain elsewhere you may have local myalgia.
*Myofascial Pain: With myofascial pain a person will experience pain in a muscle (myalgia) that spreads beyond that muscle. People who have TMD with myofascial pain may have pain in their temple, jaw or ear and pain when they use their TM joint. They also have pain in the temporalis and masseter muscles and the pain spreads throughout these muscles. If the pain spreads beyond these muscles, then the person has myofascial pain with referred pain. We commonly find this with our patients. They will feel pain in the back of their neck or the top of their head when we assess their jaw muscles.  Fortunately, our physical therapists are specialists at evaluating and treating myofascial pain and all of the things causing it.  Our TMJ and TM disorders therapy program will effectively resolve your myofascial pain.
*Tendonitis, Myositis, Spasm: In these cases, the muscles are very painful. A person can experience substantial muscular pain that is relieved by expert physical therapy using gentle manual therapy methods to reduce muscle guarding and tension and to restore posture and joint motion. TMD and TMJ physical therapy always addresses muscle guarding, imbalances and tension.
*Arthralgia: In this case, the TM joint itself hurts and the joint movement and function are impaired. When a person attempts to move the joint it causes pain in the jaw, temple or ear. They also have pain at certain areas of the joint. Attempts to open their joint further than they can do are painful.
*Headache attributed to TMJ Syndrome or TM Disorders These specific headaches are located in the temple area and are due to pain related TMD.  Some of our patients also have headaches in the back of their head or extending from the upper part of their neck, up their skull to the top of their head.  For some patients talking, chewing, grinding teeth or yawning may cause these headaches.  Because our TMJ and TM disorder therapy treats your neck and jaw, we will be able to provide effective and gentle manual therapy techniques that reduce your headaches.
*Disc Displacement (with reduction or intermittent locking) Individuals who experience this have a biomechanical disorder of their joint and disc complex. Clicking, popping or snapping noises may occur with people who have the disc displacing. These individuals benefit from working with an expert dentist to correct bite alignment. They also tend to have substantial muscle guarding and imbalances in the head and neck that can benefit from skilled physical therapy.
*Degenerative Joint Disease of the TM joint: In this case there is a deterioration of the joint tissue and also boney changes. Individuals who have this experience joint noises when opening or closing their jaw or moving it to the right or left. Imaging (X-rays) are the gold standard for diagnosis. A person with DJD of the TM joint can experience pain relief from physical therapy. While the changes in the joint may not improve, the muscle tension and postural straining that may be occurring can improve with PT. These patients also benefit from working with an expert dentist to correct bite and support the jaw.

Anatomy of the Jaw Joint (TMJ):

The jaw joint is fairly complex. Imagine that it must open and close all day long. The joint forms by the meeting of the mandible bone within the mandibular fossa, which is part of your skull. Between these two bones is an articular disc. As you open or close your mouth, your disc slides as your jaw bone rotates or glides forward or backwards. Without effective joint mechanics, a person will experience difficulty with fully opening or closing the jaw or may experience clicking or joint noises.

Our TMJ and TM disorder therapy addresses the biomechanics of your jaw joint to help you optimize the opening and closing of your joint.  Contact Us to learn more.

A variety of muscles and several small ligaments attach near your temporomandibular joint. The muscles are important with helping you open and close your jaw, speaking, eating and swallowing.

We find that our patients consistently have tension and trigger points in these muscles, which causes them pain, stiffness and sometimes a sense of fatigue; this is why our TMD and TMJ therapy methods are directed to reduce muscle and ligament tension.

Why Would I Have TMJ Problems?

The TM joint is complex and the most used joint in the body, so it is natural that it can have problems for some people. There are many things we can treat that contribute to TM joint syndrome. Some common things we find that contribute to TM joint pain:
*Postural Tension: Remember that the TM joint is the jaw bone connecting to the skull. We find that our patients have poor posture through the head and neck as it sits on top of the ribcage and thoracic spine.  Our TMJ and TM disorder therapy program provides corrective exercises and manual therapies to improve posture and correct fascial and muscular tension through the head, neck and TM joint.
*Grinding of Teeth: Patients who grind teeth should work with a specialist dentist who can help this problem. We work with these patients to unravel some of the muscle guarding or spasms that occur as a result of grinding teeth.
*Muscle Spasms: Individuals come to us with muscle tension, trigger points, spasms or tightness in a number of areas. This is why we work with manual therapy in the mouth, on the face and skull, in the neck and thoracic spine.
*Stress: The jaw (and the pelvic floor) both are areas that can react to our stress by generating muscular tension. Addressing the stress in our lives that are contributing to TM joint pain is an important part of fully rehabilitating this condition. Being mindful and attentive to our stressors is necessary to reduce the underlying tension building up in the TM joint myofascial tissues.

Some Tips:

Things to Avoid:
If you have TM joint pain, you probably already know that eating things like apples or huge submarine sandwiches can aggravate your jaw. So, lay off of things biting and eating things that bother you. If you consistently only chew food on one side of your mouth, you might try balancing your chewing. Avoid chewing gum, as the repetitive chewing tires and strains the jaw muscles that are already aggravated. Leaning your hand on your chin can also compress and aggravate a sensitive joint. Keeping your head slouched to read a screen or to drive in a slouched posture also would not be ideal.
Things to Consider Trying:
Work on improving your posture. Pay attention to how your head sits on top of your shoulders. Posture begins from the feet on up, so if you have collapsed arches or any feet problems, consider addressing this. Keep your tongue positioned correctly in your mouth, if possible. This means resting posture should be tongue on the hard pallet, behind the 2 front teeth. The upper and lower teeth should be separated in resting posture and the lips should be sealed, with your breathing occurring through the nose. If this is not possible for you, we work on improving this in physical therapy. Being attentive to stress is helpful; if you are open to meditation or other methods to calm your nervous system, your TM joint pain may benefit. When you work with us here at Purple Mountain Physical Therapy, we will guide you in our TMJ and TM disorders therapy  program, towards adopting these better habits and postures.

Why Should I Choose Purple Mountain Physical Therapy?

You need results and we offer that! The whole reason for physical therapy is to get you feeling better. We take this responsibility very seriously. We have many years’ experience and post-doctoral education specific to the needs of individuals who have TM joint pain, pelvic pain, bladder, bowel, neck or lower back problems. Every appointment is customized to your body’s findings and your goals.

Our TMD and TMJ therapy care is comprehensive and effective, and our patients confirm this to be true.

From the first moment you connect with our clinic, you will be cared for and listened to and treated comprehensively and effectively. We partner with our patients to identify what would be the most meaningful results from your therapy. Our doctors of physical therapy have advanced training and expertise specific to helping people overcome severe, chronic myofascial pain, including TMJ syndrome, chronic pelvic pain, chronic neck and lower back pain. Each appointment is up to 55 minutes in length and this allows you to receive a full amount of treatment.  With our TMJ and TM disorders therapy, you can expect to experience pain relief following appointments. You will be treated by the same physical therapist at each visit; we never bounce you around amongst providers. We have found it is best for your results to have consistency with your provider. If you are interested in learning more about our TMD and TMJ therapy here in Grand Rapids, please contact us at (616) 516-4334 or fill out this online inquiry and we will be in touch. We work with individuals here in our clinic, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan and also via telehealth.