TMJ Disorder Management Program


Whole Body Health Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy Clinic, Portland, OR

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction/Disorder (TMJD) is a condition that can include pain, clicking, and/or locking in the joint that moves the jaw. It can cause headaches, neck pain, ear aches as well as other symptoms. Functional limitations can include difficulty lying your head on a pillow, talking, chewing, singing, and more. About 20-30% of the adult population have reported TMJD symptoms.

Although the majority of symptoms are in the jaw, did you know that TMJD can be affected and sometimes caused by your neck, teeth, upper back, and/or shoulders? There are a lot of factors that can go into creating this disorder, including the temporomandibular joint itself, the muscles surrounding joint, dysfunction in the neck or shoulder, physical and/or mental stress, poor posture, and the list goes on.

In severe cases, if physical therapy does not help resolve your symptoms, TMJD may require surgical intervention. If your therapist believes you may need a surgical consult, we will help refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS). Because TMJ surgery sometimes has unpredictable results, we do not make this recommendation lightly, and  we will have a continuous discussion with you to ensure what your best options are for pain and dysfunction management. Don’t worry yet, though, physical therapy can be extremely helpful for even the worst cases of TMJD.

At Whole Body Health Physical Therapy, we can help determine what factors are affecting your condition and can provide education, individualized manual- and exercise-based treatments, and home/work ergonomic assessments which will enable you to reach your goals faster.


Examples of education include recommendations for mouth guards if warranted, self-massage, and resting and relaxation positions of the jaw. Manual therapy can include intra- and extraoral massage, TMJ, neck, and upper back mobilization, contract-relax techniques, and more. All interventions are case-specific, especially strengthening and stretching recommendations. Not all cases of TMJD are the same, so client-specific interventions is our top priority.

Contact us today to learn about the difference we can make for you!

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