If you have this going on, it could be reason for your TMJ pain

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Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) pain, under the umbrella conditions of Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is defined as

‘‘aching in the muscles of mastication, sometimes with occasional brief severe pain on chewing, often associated with restricted jaw movement and clicking or popping sounds.’’

Mandibular depression (mouth opening) with forward posture.

Mandibular depression (mouth opening) with forward posture.

There is a strong association between neck pain, posture and TMJ pain.  This can collectively be thought of as “cervical performance” — which can impact your posture and control of your neck even with chewing and talking! 

In fact, I have never treated someone with TMJ pain that did not have a cervical spine issue!  We can help both!

The cervical spine is usually assessed by palpation of the cervical muscles, assessment of the joint integrity (such as stiffness), specific muscle testing to assess muscular performance.  

We do not just assess all of these factors due to clinical experience, but significant research in the field is showing a direct correlation.

In fact, females with TMJ pain was just recently found by Ferreira et al in 2019 to have:

  1. Decreased Cervical Spine Mobility

    Watch the video below to see how physical therapists assess C1-2 mobility

2. Decreased Cervical Flexor Endurance and Activation

Watch the video below to see how physical therapists assess deep cervical flexor endurance and activation with special emphasis on Feel it to Heal it Physio.

Physical therapy is commonly utilized in the treatment of patients with TMD and TMJ pain, toward the general goals of:

  • reducing adverse loading and pain to the jaw and neck.

  • facilitating a return to full, pain-free function of the jaw and neck.

Manual therapy is a common procedure to help you. At PhysioFit of North Carolina, we utilize several manual therapy procedures, including:

  • joint mobilization / manipulation

  • fascial manipulation / mobilization

  • myofascial (soft tissue) release

We also use techniques to improve range of motion while at the same time eliminating pain. These techniques are intended to allow for pain free motion of the jaw and depending on presentation, has the ability to be applied as home exercises. The exercises are then specific and tailored to you, and not just exercises you find online!

If you are having TMJ pain, contact us to see how we can help you or even speak with your dentist to let them know there are options available in your local community.


Harrison Vaughan is a physical therapist and co-owner of PhysioFit of North Carolina. He provides physical therapy assessment and treatment of TMJ pain in Wake Forest, NC. He utilizes patient education, ergonomic changes, cervical spine strengthening and/or mobility training, and local TMJ manual therapy procedures to help you.

If you are having pain, contact your dentist to see if you are a right candidate for PT services by PhysioFit of North Carolina. Feel free to contact us below too for direct care.