Jaw/ Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD)

Having jaw pain, clicking or popping? Physical Therapy may be able to help!
Your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the joint that opens and closes your mouth. Issues with the TMJ can be pain in the jaw, clicking or popping of the jaw, snapping or locking of the jaw or difficulty with chewing, opening your mouth to sing and more. This can occur after a dentist appointment, after eating foods that are chewy or just occur over time.
What can I expect on my first appointment?
Your PT will sit down with you and ask about your jaw and how it is affecting you. He/she will ask about when your symptoms started, what makes them better and what makes them worse. If you have had any imaging or seen a dentist who specializes in TMJ, he/she may ask about this as well. Then your PT will ask you what what is currently difficulty due to your TMJ symptoms and set some goals for getting those things better. For example, if you have been avoiding chewy foods, you may set a goal for being able to eat chewy foods with minimal difficulty in 4 weeks.

Once your PT has discussed your history of symptoms with you, he/she will look at your jaw itself including taking measurements for opening, closing, sticking your jaw forward and pulling it back and moving it to the side. Your PT will also look at your head, posture and ask about any headaches. All of these may be related to your jaw symptoms.

Are there really exercises for my jaw?
Yes, your jaw has muscles just like your shoulder, ankle and wrist! Your PT will take the measurements from your examination and set up a treatment plan for you. This may include some manual techniques to help the muscles around your jaw to relax and for your TMJ to move in the correct alignment again, some strengthening exercises and some postural exercises. Your program will depend on your individual needs.
My dentist has told me that I clench my jaw and grind my teeth. Could this be affecting my jaw?
Yes, clench your jaw and grinding your teeth can contribute to your jaw symptoms. Your PT will help you to relax this muscles during sessions and may instruct you in relaxation techniques or recommend you start mediation. Taking care of your triggers is a huge component of how well your body will do with PT. Your dentist may also recommend a night guard if you are clenching/grinding in your sleep.
How many sessions will I need?

This entirely will depend on you, your injury and your body recovery. We will discuss your personal recommended plan for recovery during the first day and then reassess as we start to see the improvements!

Potential Injuries


A sprain occurs when a ligament, the tissue that connects bones to bones, is stretched or injured. A common example is an ankle sprain, often caused by the twisting of the ankle. In our physical therapy practice, treatment for ankle sprains is highly personalized. We focus on addressing muscle weakness, improving balance, enhancing proprioception (your sense of body position), and providing functional activity training to aid recovery.


A strain happens when a muscle or muscle tendon, the connective tissue linking muscle to bone, is stretched or injured. You may have heard of it as a "hamstring strain" or "pulling a muscle." Our physical therapy approach is tailored to your unique needs. Treatment typically includes gentle stretching of the affected muscles, manual techniques to expedite recovery, and gradually introducing strengthening and stabilization exercises, all customized to your progress and requirements.

Fracture or Broken Bone

A fracture, commonly known as a broken bone, occurs when a bone cracks or fully separates. Initially, medical doctors may immobilize the bone with a cast, sling, or even surgery involving rods and screws. Physical therapy usually comes into play once some healing occurs, typically taking 8-10 weeks. Our physical therapists create individualized plans focused on improving your range of motion, strengthening the muscles around the injury, reducing compensations, and facilitating your return to daily activities according to your specific goals.

Pre-operative PT

In some cases, surgeons recommend physical therapy before surgery. This pre-operative physical therapy enhances strength, range of motion, and flexibility. It often leads to better post-operative outcomes and faster recoveries. Typically, pre-operative physical therapy involves a few sessions in the weeks leading up to your surgery. However, additional sessions may be necessary in certain situations, especially when surgery is avoidable or significant muscle and joint limitations exist.


Falls can result from various factors, including both external and internal causes. External factors encompass issues like low lighting, uneven surfaces, tripping hazards, and collisions with objects or individuals. Internal factors may include:

  1. Decreased proprioception: Your sense of body position in space.
  2. Vestibular issues: Pertaining to your inner ear's sense of head position, movement, and its communication with your brain and body.
  3. Decreased muscle strength: Certain muscles play a crucial role in maintaining balance. Weakness in these muscles can lead to imbalances and falls.
  4. Vision issues: Impaired vision can affect your ability to perceive your surroundings. While physical therapy doesn't directly address vision problems, we strengthen the systems contributing to balance. Additionally, we offer recommendations to modify your home environment to reduce fall risks.


Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of your spine, often resembling a "C" or "S" shape. Diagnosis typically involves an in-office examination and confirmation through X-rays. While severe scoliosis may require surgery due to potential effects on the ribs and lungs, mild to moderate cases often benefit from physical therapy. Our approach includes assessing your posture, daily activities, range of motion, mid-back strength, and postural muscles. Based on these findings, our physical therapists create an individualized plan tailored to your needs.

Ligament Injuries

Ligaments connect bone to bone and can get injured through falls, sports impacts, motor vehicle accidents, or prolonged stress. Ligaments can stretch, sprain, tear, and more. Physical therapy focuses on reducing initial stress on the injured area and strengthening the muscles around it. We align our treatment with your goals for returning to your desired activities.

Tendon Injuries

Tendons connect muscles to bones and can sustain injuries from sports, falls, accidents, or everyday activities. Tendons may stretch, tighten, become injured, not glide properly, tear partially, fully, or retract. Physical therapy provides conservative management for tendon injuries. Our approach addresses tightness, and compensatory movement patterns, strengthens surrounding areas, and aids your return to daily life and function.