TMJ Headache

TMJ headaches can be disabling. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell where your headache is coming from – a good physical therapist can help! The temporomandibular joint has several muscular attachments, and a seemingly simple thing like forward head posture can place abnormal stress on those muscles. Pain receptors from the muscles are activated, triggering a headache.

Another source of TMJ headaches is the joint itself. A swollen, inflamed joint causes muscles to become tight and inflamed, causing spasm. Resulting headache can be felt around the skull, face and even neck areas. Saunders physical therapists are skilled at evaluating and treating most TMJ disorders. There is often both a muscular and a joint component, and the neck and upper back are often involved. At Saunders, our approach entails:

Musculoskeletal Evaluation: A thorough evaluation will be performed on your initial visit. We can determine which tissues are  involved by palpating the joint and muscles externally around the head and neck, and inside your mouth.

Manual Therapy: Our therapists all have advanced training in manual therapy which is a hands-on approach that addresses restrictions and provides gentle stimulation to relieve pain.

Exercise: Depending on whether your symptoms are caused by posture, neck or jaw tightness, or instability, a custom exercise program will be prescribed.

Postural Education and Positions of Relief: Our physical therapists will teach you body awareness and you will learn mechanics and postures that decrease load and stress on the spine and jaw. Something as simple as the resting position of your tongue can make a big difference!


TMJ can cause headache