by Apple Therapy
Temporomandibular disease, or TMD (often referred to as TMJ), is pain in the jaw, face, or ears. It is estimated that 75% of people experience one or more signs of TMD throughout their life and although the symptoms can fluctuate, those with chronic symptoms can benefit from PT.
Symptoms of TMD
- clicking or popping in jaw when opening or closing mouth
- pain or fatigue with chewing
- difficulty opening mouth wide
- tension headaches
- neck or throat pain
- pain around ears or behind eyes
- tooth pain (be sure to visit a dentist first for this)
Causes of TMD
- grinding or clenching of jaw
- your bite
- cervical disorders, such as arthritis, disc displacement, or whiplash
- poor posture
- neck and upper back tightness/trigger points
- parafunctional habits
Some ways to avoid pain of the TMJ
Keep jaw in resting position (teeth apart, tongue on roof of mouth, as if you were about to say “no”) Avoid nail biting, resting chin on hand, talking with phone resting between ear and shoulder Large yawns and large, big, forceful bites of food Foods to avoid- gum, steak, bagels, caramel, hard cereal/granola, beef jerky, ice, nuts, chips, pizza, crunchy fruits and veggies Chew food evenly on both sides of mouth Avoid sleeping on stomach.
If you continue to experience symptoms, you should discuss with your dentist to see if you need a mouth guard but also get evaluated by a PT to determine if you could benefit from treatment to the upper back, neck, or jaw areas! Stacie and Lynn in Nashua treat TMD.
Stacie Towle, PT, DPT
Apple Therapy Services Nashua