TMJ Dysfunction

TMJ Dysfunction: Causes and Treatment

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint where the skull’s temporal bone connects to the lower jaw bone, known as the mandible. This joint allows for the opening and closing of the mouth, as well as forward, backward, and side-to-side movements. TMJ dysfunction can occur due to issues with the joint itself or tension in the surrounding muscles.

Causes of TMJ Dysfunction

TMJ dysfunction can be caused by various factors, including:

  • Trauma: Injury to the jaw or joint area can lead to TMJ dysfunction.
  • Bruxism: Grinding or clenching the teeth can put excessive pressure on the TMJ.
  • Arthritis: Inflammatory joint disorders like arthritis can affect the TMJ.
  • Stress: Emotional or psychological stress can cause muscle tension in the jaw.
  • Malocclusion: Misalignment of the teeth or jaw can contribute to TMJ dysfunction.
  • Other factors: Poor posture, chewing gum excessively, or chewing on hard objects can also contribute to TMJ dysfunction.

Symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction

Symptoms of TMJ dysfunction may include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw, face, ear, or neck.
  • Difficulty or discomfort while chewing.
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint.
  • Locking of the jaw joint, making it difficult to open or close the mouth fully.
  • Headaches or migraines.

TMJ Treatment at Bodyworks Physical Therapy

At Bodyworks Physical Therapy, we offer specialized treatment for TMJ dysfunction. Our therapists use a combination of techniques to address the root cause of your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Treatment options may include:

  • Manual Therapy: Hands-on techniques to improve jaw mobility, reposition the disc, and reduce muscle tightness.
  • Therapeutic Exercises: Customized exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles around the jaw joint.
  • Education: Information about posture, habits, and activities that can contribute to TMJ dysfunction, along with strategies to manage and reduce symptoms.
  • Stress Management: Techniques to reduce stress and tension in the jaw muscles.
  • Modalities: Heat, ice, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation may be used to reduce pain and inflammation.

Get TMJ Relief Now

TMJ dysfunction can be a painful and debilitating condition, but with the right treatment approach, you can find relief. At Bodyworks Physical Therapy, our team is dedicated to helping you regain normal, pain-free function of your jaw. Contact us today to request an appointment and start your journey towards better TMJ health.


Drew has been absolutely amazing! He takes the time at every visit to see how I am improving or what needs to be done, both during the visit and for my homework, to help me with my TMJ. He is hands down the best PT I have ever had and will be the only one I go to when I need PT in the future! Highly recommend Drew or any of the physical therapists at Bodyworks PT!

- Sara Lango

Meet Our TMJ Specialists

Krista Klipfel


Sara Metzger


Drew Zimmerman


Amanda Helgoe

PT, DPT, Owner

Zach Thissen


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