Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) - MedStar Health

At MedStar Health, the therapeutic team takes a “top to bottom” approach to TMJ treatment. Therapists look beyond the muscles in the face and jaw to determine the causes of TMJ and its troubling symptoms. Then they develop a plan of therapy to eliminate the condition—and to provide patients with tools to prevent its recurrence.

TMJ disorders affect millions of Americans. This joint connects the jawbones to the bottom of the skull and controls movement of the mouth involved in speaking, yawning, eating, and chewing. When the joint has been damaged, the result can be everything from headaches, dizziness, earaches, and back pain—to radiating pain in the arms.

Thorough patient evaluation

Because TMJ disorder can result from multiple conditions—arthritis, faulty dental work, stress, poor head posture, or trauma—therapists conduct a complete patient assessment before developing a treatment plan. The MedStar Health team obtains patients’ medical history, evaluates range of motion in the jaw and neck, and assesses their posture.

Then therapists will design a treatment plan to relieve pain, decrease inflammation that can occur with TMJ, and restore normal joint movement. The MedStar Health team also works closely with dentists, orthodontists, physician specialists, and psychologists in an interdisciplinary approach to treatment to help ensure long-term success.

Variety of therapeutic methods

The therapeutic plan will include a variety of methods to relax tightened facial muscles, realign the jaw, as well as the neck, back, legs, and feet in order to eliminate the muscle pain that can result from chronic TMJ. Among the innovative therapies used in TMJ disorder treatment are:

  • Manual therapy, incorporating a variety of techniques

  • Jaw relaxation, stretching and control exercises, such as Rocabado’s 6 x 6 program

  • Referrals for dental splints and mouth guards to realign the jaw and prevent teeth grinding/clinching

  • Electromyographic biofeedback for muscle relaxation and neuromuscular retraining

  • Exercises to increase muscle strength and range of motion in the neck, shoulders, and back

  • Emphasis is placed on postural re-education, ergonomics, stretching and strengthening programs and, when indicated, an evaluation and fitting for foot orthotics

  • PENS (patterned electrical neuromuscular stimulation) for muscle re-education

  • Heat packs, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation to increase blood flow and relax muscles

  • Dry needling

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Our locations

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MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Irving Street – Neurorehabilitation Center

102 Irving St., NW
MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital
First Floor
Washington, D.C., 20010

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Federal Hill

1420 Key Hwy.
Ste. 300
Baltimore, MD 21230

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Catonsville

3455 Wilkens Ave.
Ste. 306
Baltimore, MD 21229

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Timonium

2118 Greenspring Dr.
Ste. 200
Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Westminster

412 Malcolm Dr.
Ste. 200
Westminster, MD 21157

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Waldorf

3 Post Office Rd.
Ste. 105
Waldorf, MD 20602

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Ellicott City

9501 Old Annapolis Rd.,
Dorsey Hall Medical Center
Ste. 125
Ellicott City, MD 21042

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Olney

18109 Prince Philip Dr.
Ste. 155 & 355
Olney, MD 20832

NRH Rehabilitation Network at Wheaton

2730 University Blvd. W.
Ste. 812
Wheaton, MD 20902

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Mitchellville

12158 Central Ave.
Mitchellville, MD 20721

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Clinton

8926 Woodyard Rd.
Ste. 501
Clinton, MD 20735

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Hollywood

24035 Three Notch Rd.
Phillip J. Bean Medical Center
Hollywood, MD 20636

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Ballston-Marymount

4040 N. Fairfax Dr.
Ste. 120
Arlington, VA 22203

MedStar Health: Physical Therapy at Alexandria

6355 Walker Lane.
Ste. 512
Alexandria, VA 22310