Integrating Japanese Eastern medicine with Western medicine.

When jaw pain occurs, few people think of a physical therapist as an option for pain treatment. Just like any other body part, there are cartilage, muscles, and ligaments in and around the TMJ. Physical therapists are knowledgeable about the TMJ and can treat it. In this article, we will discuss the treatment of a man who has suffered from TMJ pain for many years.

Patient’s Situation
The patient is a student (male in his 20s), and his pain in both jaws began in his early teens. He had jaw pain (left > right) whenever he sat for a long time or did any kind of exercise. Looking at the jaw and neck area, the muscles around the TMJ were tight, neck movement was poor, and the patient had a hunched posture. In the TMJ, the right joint had become stiff and the left jaw was used more.

Muscle tension around the TMJ is strongly influenced by posture and neck position. In fact, in this case, the muscles near the back of the head were very tight, pulling the jaw forward and possibly stressing the muscles around the TMJ joint. As a symptomatic treatment, we instructed her to do “cork exercises” by rolling a cork horizontally, and as for the basic treatment, we mainly aimed at improving her posture. To improve her posture, we prescribed manual therapy and exercise therapy for the neck and scapula area.

“Cork Exercise” – Hold a cork in your mouth and slide your jaw from side to side

After treatment

The pain that she complained of before the treatment, when she woke up in the morning, has almost disappeared. On the other hand, the symptoms that her shoulder and jaw gradually become painful when she exercises remain somewhat. Currently, we are practicing proper shoulder and neck use so that she can exercise while maintaining her posture.