TMJ Dysfunction

When is someone with TMJ dysfunction a good candidate for physical therapy?
Patients may present with pain on one or both sides of the jaw, with or without clicking. Additional issues such as headaches, facial pain, ringing in the ears, and/or earache, neck or upper back pain may also be present.

What can I expect as a patient with TMJ dysfunction at LCPTI?

  • Thorough evaluation of the jaw, neck, upper back and shoulder girdle
  • Postural Assessment and Correction
  • Manual therapy of the TMJ, cervicothoracic spine and shoulder region
  • Therapeutic exercise for improved mechanical function of the TMJ, as well as improved strength and function of the CT spine and shoulder girdle
  • Neuromuscular re-education for improved awareness of jaw position with activity as well as improved postural function with ADL’s
  • Modalities for management of pain and tightness

Postural Assessment & Correction

At LCPTI, we address the relationship between the head and neck and the subsequent stress placed upon the TMJ. We work to improve common habits of forward head posturing and rounded shoulders to help decrease abnormal forces on the TMJ.

Manual Therapy

We utilize direct manual treatment to the TMJ to help assess and treat signs of muscular/capsular tightness and impaired joint mechanics. Additional treatments to the spine and shoulder girdle are also utilized as appropriate to help manage joint stiffness and muscular imbalance. Our therapist is also certified in spinal manipulative therapy and utilizes a combination of thrust and non-thrust mobilization as well as a variety of soft-tissue approaches to effectively treat the entire upper quarter.

Therapeutic Exercise

Depending upon the patient’s needs, personalized therapeutic exercise programs are developed as a means to help reinforce proper posture and movement with daily activities. Exercise will target the TMJ, CT spine and shoulder girdle to help improve mobility and strength to assist with maintenance of proper posture.

Neuromuscular Re-education

This approach begins with an in-depth assessment of TMJ opening mechanics with subsequent exercises to ensure proper joint movement. We then provide additional exercise to reinforce positional awareness of the head and spine to avoid recurrent symptoms.


Modalities such as electrical simulation, ultrasound, thermotherapy, iontophoresis and mechanical cervical traction are utilized as needed to help decrease pain and improve tissue mobility.

Certification in Temporomandibular Management (TMM)

  • Eclectic-based approach through the NxtGen Physical Therapy Institute
  • Utilizes a regional interdependence approach of TMJ, cervicothoracic spine and shoulder girdle
  • Multi-faceted program of manual therapy, therapeutic exercise and postural intervention with strong emphasis on self-management

How LCPTI is Striving to Improve Patient Outcomes with TMD

  • Exclusive one-on-one sessions allowing for greater attention to detail and more progressive approach
  • Concurrent certification in Spinal Manipulative Therapy (Cert. SMT) through the Spinal Manipulation Institute as well as training in instrument-assessment soft-tissue mobilization (IASTM)
  • Treating therapist is Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) for advanced exercise follow-up

The Lawrence County Physical Therapy Institute operates as a Christ-centered facility with a primary focus on service. We are here to serve our patients and medical community to the best of our ability.

For even the Son of Man came not be served, but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many

– Mark 10:45

Collaborative Approach

At LCPTI, we advocate for the best possible care for our patients. We realize that TMJ dysfunction is an issue that may involve the patient’s dentist, orthodontist, oral surgeon and/or ear, nose and throat specialist. It is our hope to collaborate with all involved healthcare practitioners to quickly and successfully manage our patient’s concerns.