TMJ dysfunction (TMD) is a class of disorders of the jaw joints that result in symptoms ranging from clicking or popping of the jaw with movement, to pain or limited range of motion. In many TMD cases, the patient will complain of neck pain and headaches, difficulty eating or talking, ear pain or fullness, and in some cases vertigo, ringing of the ear or dizziness.

Researchers generally agree that these disorders fall into three main categories:

  1. Myofascial pain and discomfort in the muscles that control jaw function.
  2. Internal derangement of the joint where the joint may have a displaced disc, dislocated jaw, or injury to the condyle.
  3. Arthritis which refers to a group of degenerative/inflammatory joint disorders that can affect the TMJ.

A person may have one or more of these conditions at the same time. Some people have other health problems that co-exist with TMJ disorders, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep disturbances or fibromyalgia, a painful condition that affects muscles and other soft tissues throughout the body. These disorders share some common symptoms, which suggests that they may share similar underlying mechanisms of disease.

Physical therapy has been proven to be a safe and effective method for treatment of TMJ problems.  Freedom Physical Therapy Services is proud to feature specialists who received training and certification from Dr. Mariano Rocabado and the University of St. Augustine. Dr. Mariano Rocabado is a leading international expert in the field of TMD and Craniofacial Pain. In addition, our specialists have attended Orofacial Pain and TMD residencies with the University of Minnesota Dental School.

Following an examination by a skilled PT at Freedom Physical Therapy Services, the Temporalmandibular Joint and adjacent cervical spine are evaluated and an individualized treatment program is then initiated. Treatments may include massage, soft tissue mobilizations, ROM exercises, postural training, patient education and modalities for pain control. The focus of PT is reduce pain and improve function and the goals of treatment are patient specific and incorporate each individual’s needs. The treatments are safe and effective in many cases, often times making more invasive treatments unnecessary. Physical Therapy can also be a useful adjunct to intra-oral appliances, as well.

 

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Physical Therapist
Pete Balik graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology in 1992 and then a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy in 1995. He has attended an Orofacial Pain and TMD residency with the University of Minnesota Dental School.