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TMJ pain or Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)

By Andrew Lantz, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CMTPT

Restorative Therapy Co

Do you have pain and clicking in your jaw? Difficulty chewing tougher foods or talking on the phone for long periods of time?


You may be suffering from temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMD (commonly referred to as TMJ). While the symptoms may be in your jaw and the onset of symptoms may be from jaw related activity such as chewing or talking, there may be other factors at play including posture, lack of neck mobility, poor breathing habits, stress, and/or parafunction (tongue thrusting, finger sucking, teeth grinding etc.)



Many patients will be given a night guard or night splint to help with symptoms but this does not necessarily help so much during the day. This is where PT can step in and help.


Try this simple screen to see if PT may be helpful for you. If 2-3 of these tests elicit pain or symptoms then PT may be right for you.


  1. Gently to moderately push with your fingers at the very tip top of your neck to the base of your skull (occiput). Tenderness, pain or headache would constitute a positive test.

  2. Gently to moderately push with your fingers over your jaw just in front of your ears. Tenderness, pain, pain referral, or headache would constitute a positive test.

  3. Take your chin down to your chest. Inability to get chin to your chest or discomfort in the head, neck, or jaw would constitute a positive test.

  4. Look over your right and left shoulder. Inability to get your chin in line with your right or left shoulder or discomfort in the head, neck, or jaw would constitute a positive test.

  5. Look up at the ceiling. Inability to get your head parallel with the ceiling or discomfort in the head, neck, or jaw would constitute a positive test. You should also not feel any dizziness.


If you are having pain and clicking in the jaw getting in the way of your everyday eating and communication then PT at RTC may be the right choice for you. Andrew Lantz, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CMTPT is our TMD expert and is ready to help get you feeling well and being well again. Call 757-578-2958 or visit www.restorativetherapyco.com and click “Book Appointment” to schedule with Andrew today.

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