Physical Therapy As Part of Jaw Treatment
About 75% of our patients are referred to a physical therapist as part of their jaw treatment. Having said that, we are typically seeing the more advanced cases in our practice (the majority of our patients are referred by other doctors). Some patients have had previous physical therapy and found that it did not provide lasting relief. The truth is that very few physical therapists have the necessary training or the experience to effectively treat a jaw problem.
A patient with a significant jaw problem almost always has other orthopedic problems, most often involving the neck structures. Unless all the components of the problem are effectively addressed, relief of symptoms will be compromised. Management of these disorders requires a team approach. An excellent physical therapist can dramatically reduce the amount of time necessary for restoration of function and relief of pain. In addition, the best therapists require the fewest number of visits, because they are so effective at what they do.
Unfortunately, some patients who have failed to respond to conservative treatment (because they did not work with a qualified therapist) end up undergoing costly surgery or dental treatment that could have otherwise been avoided.
The best therapists use a wide variety of treatment methods, and customize the treatment for individual patient needs. No two jaw patients are exactly the same. Therefore a “cookbook” approach cannot be successfully employed when treating jaw problems. It takes years of training and experience to know which techniques will work on which patients. No physical therapy treatment or therapeutic exercise should be painful. The physical therapists we recommend have been recognized by their peers for their lifetime achievements in the treatment of patients with head, neck, and jaw pain.