When you think of the joints in your body, your mind probably goes to your knees, elbow, or hips. The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are actually among the most frequently used in the body. Without them, we couldn’t chew, talk, yawn, swallow, or sneeze. TMJ disorder is a very unpleasant experience for many patients. Fortunately, the condition of TMD can often be tackled by your Pella general dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Allen. However, sometimes physical therapy can be a good supplemental treatment to this usually painful and irritating condition.
Where are your TMJs?
Many people mistakenly refer to temporomandibular joint disorder as TMJ. Your TMJs are actually the jaw joints themselves. If you want to locate your own TMJs, all you need to do is place your fingertips in front of each ear on either side of your head. Open and close your mouth, and you’ll feel your TMJs in action. Jaw joints connect the mandible and temporal bones. Any unusual symptoms such as popping/clicking, headaches, biting discomfort, neck pain, headaches, or soreness, could suggest that you have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
Physical Therapy for TMJ
Physical therapy treatment can bring plenty of relief to someone suffering from TMD. Among common procedures a physical therapist might administer is ultrasound. This involves a round probe that transfers high frequency sound waves into your body. Gentle heat is released to relax your jaw as the sound waves travel deeply into your muscles. Physical therapists can also teach you exercises that you can do on your own, at home. Heat increases blood flow and reduces muscle spasms. Conversely, cold exposure can reduce inflammation. Combining the help of a physical therapist, dentist, and general physician can be a great multi-tiered plan of action to achieve the most results in dealing with TMD.
TMJ Help from Dr. Jeffrey Allen
Dr. Jeffrey Allen provides comfortable dental care to patients of all ages. Call (641) 628-1121 today to schedule a checkup and cleaning, cosmetic consultation, or second-opinion visit. We are located on the west side of the historic town square in Pella, IA. Please see the map for directions.