Physiotherapy management for TMJ

Updated on April 7th, 2020
Physiotherapy for TMJ

Did you know that TMJ is one of the most used joints in the human body? Without them, you can’t eat, talk, and breath properly. So yeah, they are absolutely important.

Treatment of TMJ includes acupuncture and dry needling. It also includes soft tissue massage, physical therapy instrument mobility. Strength exercises, taping and strapping, and heat packs are also involved.

Most cases of TMJ get better in six to eight weeks through physiotherapy. Working with your physiotherapist and performing regular exercises can help in your recovery.

Physiotherapists can help determine the cause of your TMJ and can improve the way your jaw works. That way, you can swiftly and safely get back to your normal activities.

Most of the time, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders can be relieved quickly with self-managed care or non-surgical treatments.

Also, most people with TMJ disorders may benefit from physiotherapy. Exercises in physical therapy are easy to do and would not take too much time. These physical therapies are comfortable and safe to go for.

Does physiotherapy help TMJ pain?

Jaw pain and clicking might come from any one of these structures. However, most of the time, the pain comes from muscle around the joint. Posture, neck mobility, and muscle balance around the neck and jaw play a vital role in TMJ. Physical therapy is an excellent treatment for TMJ.

  • Manual TMJ physical therapy includes hands-on techniques to improve joint motion and reduce muscle stiffness.
  • Mobilizations are used to help the disk move frequently, decrease pain, and increase motion.
  • For TMJ treatment, trigger point dry needling therapy is another way. It targets particular muscles in your jaw that are contracting and causing your jaw to misalign.

[Read: Home Remedies to Ease TMJ Pain]

How to perform TMJ exercises physical therapy

There are TMJ exercises for physical therapy which are considered as the best and quick remedy for joint pain or muscle stiffness. These exercises are thought to help in a stretch of the jaw, strengthen jaw muscles, relaxing jaw, and promote jaw healing.

1. Tongue up

Tongue up excercise

In the first step, you need to touch your tongue on the roof of your mouth — not the middle part of the tongue, but the tip of your tongue.

2. Full opening

  • Put your right hand’s index finger on the TMJ and give a little pressure on it.
  • Keep your left hand’s index finger on your chin.
  • Now, drop your lower jaw entirely and then shut it back. Drop your jaw slowly so that you can bear the pain.
  • For a variation of this exercise, place one finger on each TMJ as you ultimately lower your jaw and back in slow motion.

Repeat this exercise six times, as it makes one set.

3. Side to side jaw movement

  • Put an object in your mouth and move your lower jaw side to side. When it becomes easier, you replace the object with a thicker one.
  • You should complete the onset six times daily. Make sure not to do these sets one after another. Give some time in between each set.
  • Within six or eight weeks, you will get the result and will see a visible relief in your pain and muscle stiffness.

[Read: Treat TMJ with Essential Oils]


Before going for physiotherapy for TMJ, it is also essential to pay attention to the self-treating condition and avoiding or delaying the standard care may have serious consequences.

If you are using any form of alternative medicine, make sure to consult your physician first. Consulting your doctor lowers the potential risks and benefits because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The physical therapy treatment has aimed at relieving the symptoms, seeking to restore the normal function of the muscles, for which different techniques can be used. In the case of TMJ, physiotherapy is workable.

Small exercises help TMJ to start working correctly. Physical therapy can help the muscles to work in its correct way and slowly and gradually helps in relieving the joint pain.

Physical therapy through tissue stretching exercises, joint mobilization, and activities for segmental stabilization may be included in the rehabilitation process (2.).

Physiotherapy may help the patients of TMJ by reducing pain and increasing mobility as well as a rebalancing of TMJ.


1. How Can Physical Therapy Help with Tmj?

physical therapy can be helpful in many ways, but the most highlighted treatment is heat or ice packs.

2. Can I Recognize the Tmj?

Yes, you can recognize the TMJ disorder by popping sounds when moving jaws, difficulty in chewing your food, and also through facial pain and earache.

3. Are Tmj Exercises Are Safe to Follow?

Yes, TMJ exercises are safe to follow because it does not contain any devices or medication. These are elementary exercises to add to your daily routine.

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