Is Physical Therapy Effective for Jaw Pain?


Did you know that people experiencing TMJ pain or TMD pain can also find relief by visiting a physical therapist? TMD is a common problem and is associated with jaw pain. Experts at NYDNR use a variety of techniques to get rid of it effectively.

Recognizing TMD

TMD doesn’t only involve jaw pain. It also has the following symptoms:

  • Jaw locking
  • Jaw popping
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Neck pain
  • Ear pain

TMD can be categorized into two – Myalgia and Arthrogenous.

While myalgia refers to muscle pain, arthrogenous refers to a problem in the structures within the joint. In myalgia, pain also changed as the jaw moves. So, when you take part in activities like chewing or talking, then you tend to notice the pain. You can also reproduce the pain by applying a little pressure on your jaw’s or head’s sides. Moreover, it isn’t necessary that opening the mouth is painful or the range of motion of the mouth is limited.

Managing myalgia jaw pain

There are three ways of dealing with myalgia. However, these three only help to manage the pain temporarily, and you will have to go for physical therapy to eliminate it.

1.Ceasing activities causing stress

Myalgia often occurs because of activities leading to repetitive or excess stress via the jaw muscles. Thus, to get rid of myalgia symptoms, you must pinpoint such activities and eliminate them. While doing so seems too easy, pinpointing the exact cause can be quite difficult as there are more than 21 activities that could be putting the excessive stress on your jaw muscles. Some activities include:

  • Biting items like pens
  • Chewing gums
  • Clenching teeth
  • Signing
  • Using your hands for resting the chin
  • Sleeping face-down; on the stomach
  • Sustained talking

Identifying such activities and eliminating them from the day-to-day routine can decrease the jaw pain.

2. Eat only soft items

A soft diet decreases the work your muscles must do to break the food into smaller pieces. With time, this decreases the pain and tension experienced by the jaw muscles. You can include the following things in your soft diet:

  • Smoothies
  • Jello
  • Eggs
  • Applesauce
  • Pudding
  • Bread
  • Ground meat
  • Cooked cereals
  • Pasta
  • Cheese
  • Cooked veggies

You can also add other things that are relatively soft and don’t cause too much stress.

3. Jaw exercises

Clenching and grinding teeth increase the tension in the muscles of the jaw thus leading to myalgia. Clenching mostly occurs in times of stress like screaming kids or work pressure. Similarly, it can also occur other times like when taking part in strenuous activities or focusing intensely.

To manage pain caused by stress, not only should you recognize the activities causing pain but you should also exercise the jaw too.

Schedule an appointment at NYDNR today!

The three methods mentioned above are only suitable for managing the pain for just a short time. There are ways to eliminate myalgia with the help of physical therapists. Physical therapists at NYDNR make use of numerous techniques to reduce pain and tension. Particularly, dry needling at NYDNR can be highly effective. So, if you have become a victim of jaw pain, make sure to head over to NYDNR today!


In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)


Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)


Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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