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Pivotal Can Help Ease Your Pain

We believe every patient deserves to live a life free from temporomandibular joint pain, headaches, and facial pain. Our team of experienced physical therapists has specialized training to treat all of the above.

A woman experiencing facial and jaw pain

What are the Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ)

The Temporomandibular joints are located on either side of your head, directly in front of your ears. These joints work simultaneously enabling you to breath, swallow, speak, bite, chew, yawn, sing, yell and express yourself sexually.

The jaw can not only open and close, but also move side to side, front and back. These motions are necessary for biting into food and chewing to break down food sufficiently, before we swallow. Biting and chewing are possible because of 4 powerful muscles, the muscles of mastication.

The Temporomandibular joints are ball and socket joints with a disc positioned in between. The disc acts as a cushion absorbing the compressive forces during jaw function. The disc also helps to stabilize the joint. Holding all these moving parts together and providing additional joint stability are the joint capsule and ligaments.

What is Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)

Temporomandibular Disorders represent one category of Jaw and Facial Pain and dysfunction. We divide the Temporomandibular Disorders into muscular and joint type disorders. The majority of Temporomandibular Disorders involve the jaw and even the neck muscle. Joint type problems without muscular involvement are rare. Most Disorders present as a combination.

Muscle type Temporomandibular Disorders are:

Muscle spasm

Myofascial restrictions and Trigger Points

Muscle inflammation


Joint type Temporomandibular Disorders are:

 Joint inflammation (Capsulitis/Synovitis/Retro-discitis)

 Intermittent Disc Displacement: jaw joint clicking or popping

Disc Displacement: jaw locking closed or open


What causes Temporomandibular Disorder

Your temporomandibular joints contain so many moving parts and your life takes twists and turns, which influence your behaviors and overall muscle tension. Temporomandibular Disorder is most often caused by a combination of several factors. We can divide them into 2 broad categories:

What we do to ourselves: 

o   Teeth clenching and grinding

o   Habitually chewing gum, ice, hard candy, nails, etc.

o   Accidentally biting unto something hard

o   Poor posture

o   Inadequate Ergonomics

 o   Dysfunctional Breathing


What happens to us:

o   Keeping jaw in open position for an extended duration of time

o   Arthritis

o   Blunt force to jaw

o   Jaw manipulation during dental procedures, oral surgery or intubation

o   Misaligned teeth or poor bite

o   Disc Displacement with or without jaw locking


Underlying conditions:

o   Chronic Pain

o   Hypermobility Syndrome

o   Poor Sleep Quality


TMJ homepage thumbnail image

Do I Have a Temporomandibular Disorder 

Temporomandibular Disorders are more common than you think. Over 10 million individuals across the United States experience some form of it at some time in their life. Our Physical Therapists specializing in jaw, head and neck pain and disorders can evaluate your symptoms and devise a treatment plan to most effectively address your problem and restore full jaw function.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders are characterized by certain, typical symptoms, including:

  • Pain or tenderness of jaw muscles
  • Facial pain
  • Headaches at the temples, forehead, back of head
  • Chronic neck pain
  • Localized pain at one or both temporomandibular joints
  • Pain in and around either or both ears
  • Pain while chewing
  • Pain or inability to open jaw
  • Painful clicking or grating sounds when chewing, speaking or yawning.
  • Change of bite or jaw movement
  • Stuffy ears or ringing in the ears

Neuralgia and Neuropathic Pain

Neuralgias are a form of neuropathic pain and is a chronic pain condition. Trigeminal and Occipital Neuralgias represent another category resulting in jaw and facial pain. Pain resulting from these two neuralgias can be found either to the face or the side of the head (trigeminal) or to the back and top of the head (occipital).  Pain caused by Trigeminal and Occipital Neuralgia is experienced as episodic, unilateral, lancinating (“lightning bolt”) and can be triggered.

Neuropathic pain of the Trigeminal and Occipital nerve may be associated with abnormal sensation (dysesthesia) or perceived pain upon non-painful stimuli (allodynia). The pain is described as constant, unremitting unilateral pain of variable intensity, without discernable triggers.

Treating Jaw and Facial Pain

Diagnosing Jaw and Facial Pain is an acquired skill and art, knowledge and experience of the clinician matter. Our team of experienced Physical Therapists specialize in treating Jaw and Facial pain will initiate your care with a comprehensive evaluation and formulate an individualized treatment plan addressing your particular needs in order to achieve your goals.

Our treatment interventions include a combination of:

  • Manual therapy to facilitate increased circulation, improve tissue flexibility and joint mobility.
  • Neuromuscular Re-education to improve control and stability of the jaw and the neck muscles.
  • Strengthening and Stretching of the jaw and the neck muscles to achieve optimal posture and function.
  • Postural Education to identify faulty posture, especially while working a desk job or using mobile devices.
  • Self-help Program to help you understand and manage your pain and symptoms.


Why Pivotal for Jaw and Facial Pain Treatment?

Pivotal Physical Therapy for jaw and facial pain should be your first choice. We have a high success rate because we are specialists in jaw and facial pain. Our relaxed, calm, and encouraging environment is the perfect place to begin your journey towards a full recovery.


Contact Us Today to Start Your Healing!