TMD affects over 80 million adults and 8 million children in the United States and there are very few resources available to treat it. We are so glad you are here. We can help.

Let’s get clear about some terms before you go any further.

  • TMJ refers to the temporal mandibular joint. You have one TMJ on either side of the jaw, but they are generally referred to as one joint.
  • TMD refers to temporal mandibular dysfunction or disorder. There can be a wide range of symptoms that can be lumped into TMD.
  • Fascia is a connective tissues system in the body. Fascia surrounds muscles, bones, organs, nerves, joints, and every other tissue in the body. The technique we are using targets tension in the fascia and requires a very different approach than you may be used to using with your body. We call it fascia wellness.

Fascia wellness is targeting the fascia to eliminate pain and promote wellness in the body. At Mayer Fascia Wellness, we approach healing TMD through the lens of fascia. Since fascia is the environment of all your body systems including every structure that is part of your TMJ we start with an approach that targets the tension in the fascia, specifically the Barnes approach.

Can’t My Dentist Fix My TMD?

While your dentist is an important healthcare provider and a wealth of knowledge, they are not trained rehabilitation or myofascial specialists. They care primarily about the health of your teeth and gums. If you have TMD and part of the problem is clenching or grinding your teeth, they can help you protect your teeth.

It’s Just a Joint

Your TMJ is a joint. Your body is full of joints. For example, the shoulder, hips, fingers, ankles and many, many more all have joints each with unique attributes just like your TMJ. Rehabilitation specialists, like us here at Mayer Wellness are trained to help improve the health and function of your joints. Occupational therapists also specialize in helping people return to a better quality of life through doing the activities they want or need to do without pain. Our therapists are trained in myofascial release, so we take a multifaced approach to TMD that focuses on your fascia. More below.

It’s an Important Joint

What makes the jaw unique is that it is used in so many critical aspects of life such as:

  • communication
  • eating
  • intimacy
  • singing
  • facial expressions
  • yawning
  • smiling
  • laughing
  • sneezing
  • breathing
  • and many more

How do you get TMD?

The cause is often considered multifactorial including biologic, behavioral, environmental, social, emotional, and cognitive components (Kaban, 2009).

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Muscle strain
  • Injury from car accidents or other trauma
  • Posture
  • Head forward position
  • Cervical Issues
  • Spinal Curves, lordosis
  • Pelvic distortions
  • Hip mobility issues
  • Myofascial tension
  • Habits
  • Medical Conditions

There are so many small muscles and layers of fascia in the jaw area that can make the jaw more susceptible to tension.

TMD can start with a mild sense of tension in your jaw. This can progress to sensations of catches or clicking happening in your jaw. The clicking may or may not be painful. Some people feel a sense of relief in the tension when they click their jaw. This can irritate the tissues and actually make the problem worse.

Over time, the tension can build and place pressure on the tissues in this area. Blood flow can be reduced and restrictions in the myofascial tissues can develop. In addition, the structures of the joint can actually get stuck out of alignment making it difficult to open and close the jaw. The more tension that builds, the more pressure is placed on surrounding nerves and circulatory structures. As a result, less nutrition is able to get to the tissues and keep them healthy. All this can result in a lot of discomfort and even severe pain that can spread away from the jaw into the ear, temples, head, neck or shoulders.

How do I Know if I Have TMD?

Symptoms may range from mild popping and clicking noises to debilitating migraines or inability to eat. Most people (85%) with TMD also have other diagnoses that may or may not be related to TMD (The TMJ Association, 2022).

TMD may include any or all the following:

  • Difficulty or discomfort with biting or chewing.
  • Difficulty or discomfort opening the jaw.
  • Jaw noise such as clicking that may be associated with pain.
  • Jaw or face pain or tenderness.
  • Neck or shoulder pain.
  • Headaches.
  • Earaches.
  • Tinnitus.
  • Hearing loss.
  • Vertigo.
  • Sleep disturbance

What is the Best Treatment for TMD?

The TMJ Association recognizes over 50 treatments. However, the evidence for most treatment is lacking. Some of the most common recommendations include heat and ice, surgery, manual therapy, and stress reduction. When exploring options is it always best to start with more conservative treatments since invasive options such as surgeries are irreversible and can have devastating side effects.

Aggarwal et al., (2019) reported conservative treatment options including physical and psychosocial interventions are effective and should be started early in the care of TMD and be chosen over invasive, irreversible, and expensive interventions.

What Do You Do at Mayer Wellness?

We take a multifaceted individualized approach. Not everyone’s TMD presents the same. We start with a thorough evaluation of your symptoms and health history. We look closely at your whole-body posture, alignment and mobility including your TMJ. We want to understand your current activities including how you use your body at work, at home and in your leisure and wellness activities. All this information and your priorities help us create a plan just for you. This may include any or all of the below.

  • Hands-on myofascial release to open the fascia and take pressure off your tissues. The focus is on the head, jaw, neck and shoulders but may need to be anywhere in the body where fascial restrictions exist.
  • Self-myofascial release to continue healing between sessions.
  • Posture correction homework (almost everyone needs a little tweaking but most of us need a lot).
  • Habit identification, breathing and relaxation homework. Stress is a HUGE factor in TMD. This cannot be ignored.

Make your appointment today!