If you’ve ever had jaw pain, then you’ve probably also experienced nagging headaches, jaw popping, neck discomfort and facial pain that come along with it. This occurs mainly because the jaw or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a sliding hinge joint responsible for chewing, talking and expressing emotions. Therefore, due to its muscle attachments at the head and neck, you can experience a variety of unpleasant symptoms. TMJ pain is often disabling, significantly impacting the quality of life of those who suffer from it. The best option for treating TMJ pain is to target the cause of the pain, not just the symptoms.
Treating the Symptoms of Jaw Pain
Common treatment methods for TMJ pain are injections, oral appliances, braces, pain medications, or muscle relaxers. Oftentimes, patients are told to purchase expensive oral appliances or injections to assist in alleviating TMJ pain, but these solutions usually provide temporary relief of symptoms. In addition, medications and muscle relaxers alleviate pain in the short term, but tend to cover up the problem. As a result, these methods focus on treating the “symptoms” of TMJ pain and can cost several thousands of dollars. These methods fall short of treating the “cause” of the problem, leaving patients seeking long term pain relief options.
Treating the Cause of Jaw Pain
Treatment options which are more effective in the long term focus on addressing the “cause” of the pain. A thorough examination from a physical therapist may show a number of findings: poor control of the jaw muscles, jaw stiffness, myofascial pain, or neck tightness. These findings, if not addressed lead to persistent TMJ pain, headaches and neck pain. We know that there is no one “cure” for jaw pain, however, a blended approach of differential diagnosis, corrective exercise, joint manipulation, and dry needling have been shown to be effective at alleviating symptoms. Above all, treating the “cause” of the pain will help you find long lasting pain relief.
Get Help For Your Jaw Pain Today
At Peak Physiotherapy and Performance, we treat TMJ disorder frequently. We can help identify the cause of your pain and place you on an individualized treatment plan to find relief. Invest some time in reaching out to us today. If you know of someone who may benefit from this information, please share it with them!
Check out our FREE guide, The Do’s and Don’t of Jaw Pain to receive tips and informational videos about more ways to reduce jaw pain!
About the Author
Dr. Andrew Junak is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board-Certified Orthopedic Specialist. Dr. Junak received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Walsh University and completed his Orthopedic Specialist training at the Cleveland Clinic Orthopaedic Residency Program. He is the owner of Peak Physiotherapy and Performance, a physical therapy clinic in Canal Winchester, Ohio. Dr Junak serves the local communities of Lancaster, Reynoldsburg, Grove City, Pickerington and Columbus. In his practice, Dr. Junak helps clients with jaw pain, neck pain, and headaches find relief without resorting to medications, injections, or surgery.