The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is where your lower jaw (the mandible) articulates with your skull (the temporal bone). It is located just in front of your ear. You have two TMJ joints, one on each side of the face. They work together in sync to allow you to open and close your mouth for eating, talking, yawning and mouth breathing.
While the TMJ can endure more than 250lbs of joint loading, it is highly susceptible to dysfunction. In fact, up to 12% (38 million) of the general population experience TMJ symptoms. This ranks second only to low back pain, as the most prevalent musculoskeletal problem in the United States — with the peak prevalence among people between 35 to 45 years old.
What happens when your TMJ gets in the way of enjoying life?
While these symptoms are common, they are not normal and could be a sign of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD). A condition involving the TMJ joint and the masticatory muscles around it.
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Mastication muscles attach to the jaw to allow the joint to open, close, and move forward, back and side to side. These movements start the digestion process, as they allow you to manipulate, chomp and shred your food.
Many physical events (injury, dental work, poor posture, bruxism, etc.) can disrupt how your TMJ works. Although the muscles surrounding it are very strong, the repetitive abnormal stress on the joint can lead to pain and damage. There is also a disc that separates the top and bottom of the joint, called the temporomandibular joint disc. The TMJ disc moves as your jaw moves, but it can sometimes shift too far and cause your jaw to click and pop, to lock open, or to limit mouth opening.
Eventually, due to the proximity of the TMJ joint to your ear and neck, the condition can often spread out to other areas, such as the muscles that regulate your inner ear, the muscles that help you swallow, and the muscles that move and support your head. It can even hinder your brain’s capacity to switch on the right muscles, at the right time, and with the right amount of strength. Known as neuromuscular deactivation, this process tends to pull you out of balance and into a vicious cycle of pain, weakness, and dysfunction.
You’re never just a number at Activcore. You will have your own dedicated TMJD physical therapist (not an aide) by your side throughout every session. A specially trained physical therapist who will treat you as a whole person, optimizing how your mind and muscles work together so that you can regain control of your body.
In a private office setting, your physical therapist will perform a comprehensive physical exam and movement screen to help determine the underlying root cause of your TMJ condition. Together, you and your provider will then develop and commit to a plan of care tailored to your individual needs, lifestyle and goals.
You will feel the Activcore difference from your first visit. A highly personalized experience applying the latest breakthrough techniques in TMJ rehabilitation, such as neuromuscular activation, postural muscle retraining, trigger point dry needling, intraoral manual therapy (myofascial release), and Pilates apparatus exercise. You will also receive a home exercise program customized just for you.
“I was referred to Activcore by my Dentist for TMJ disorder. He referred me to Activcore because they specialize in TMJ and vestibular interventions, along with their skills with overall orthopedic care. I initially presented with jaw clicking while eating, jaw pain, severe headaches, and episodes of vertigo. Through an initial interview and evaluation, they quickly and correctly determined that certain muscles in my neck were very tight, while others were under-utilized from some postural issues. They massaged my facial and neck muscles, and had me do some exercises on the Redcord suspension system. It took just one session to start relieving the jaw pain and headaches. After subsequent treatments, the clicking in my jaw was gone, and my posture felt stronger. My therapist expanded to the muscles of my upper and mid back that were compensating for my spinal curvature. They motivated me to do my best. If I didn’t understand a certain exercise, they broke it down for me, modeling the movement and reinforcing my efforts.
I could not have been happier with my experience at Activcore. The therapists bring energy and fun to the healing process. Their enthusiasm is contagious. I am now pain-free. I have better posture, and I have more awareness of my muscles. I highly recommend Activcore to anyone in need of physical therapy for TMJ disorders.” — Nancy