Intermittent pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a common ailment that can often be treated in our dental office. When the pain is chronic, collaboration among health care professionals makes all the difference. For long term management of TMJ discomfort, we turn to Freedom Physical Therapy (FPT).
They are smart and kind, and, most importantly, they get results. After years of TMJ pain, I can say I am virtually symptom-free because of Mike DeWan and FPT.
Self-management is their mantra
Of course, FPT employs many treatment modalities to treat TMJ, including ultrasound, dry needling and deep tissue massage. During each session, however, the physical therapists also teach their patients how to heal themselves.
Michael Karegeannes, owner and therapist at FPT, is one of the few U.S. physical therapists recognized as a Certified Cervical and Temporomandibular Therapist. He even teaches other physical therapists around the world. Though Michael is quite busy, several therapists on staff are trained in TMJ therapies.
Here are two tidbits of advice that helped me the most. You can find many more on their website at www.treatingtmj.com.
Jaw posture: Remember TTJ
Remember TTJ to help you find the best jaw posture:
- Tongue up
- Teeth apart
- Jaw relaxed
Here’s how you can relax your jaw throughout your day. Place your tongue lightly on the palate behind your upper front teeth, allow your teeth to come apart and relax your jaw.
Foam roller pectoral stretch
All of our daily work hunched over our computers shortens our pectoral or our front-of-chest muscles. Stretching them out helps relieve TMJ discomfort. Michael showed me how.
I lie on a foam roller with my spine stretched out on it and my bottom and head supported by it. Then I hold a “goal post” position with my shoulders back, my elbows bent to 90 degrees and my forearms parallel to the ground. And then I take 20 very deep breaths, exhaling longer than inhaling. At the end of the exercise, sometimes my forearms end up resting on the ground and my TMJ symptoms have lessened.
For more tips on how DeWan Dental Wellness collaborates with FPT and other experts to help relieve TMJ symptoms, download our free ebook, Understanding Occlusal Disease. Or better yet, reach out to schedule a dental appointment today.