Jaw pain affects 20-30% of adults over the course of their lifetime. Most cases go untreated due to a lack of knowledge of treatment options. The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is a joint just like your knee or shoulder, and TMJ pain can be treated with physical therapy intervention. Common causes of TMJ pain include muscular strain; joint dislocation; referral from the neck, teeth, or ear; as well as poor posture and habits such as teeth clenching. Therapy can include massage and manual techniques to the TMJ and neck, activity modification to decrease aggravating factors, evaluation of mouth guards, and stretching and strengthening exercises for the neck, shoulder, and TMJ.
In addition to contributing to TMJ pain, the neck muscles can also contribute to and cause headaches. Physical therapy can help to provide relief for tension headaches, sub occipital headaches and even migraine headaches.