Getting to Grips with the TMJ: A Manual Therapy Guide

The TMJ is one of the most biomechanically complex and neurologically active joints in the human body. Dysfunction of the TMJ is a common cause of craniofacial pain, posing significant quality of life impact to sufferers and economic cost to the community. It is associated with various co-morbidities such as anxiety, bruxism, and migraine and has a high tendency to relapse and degenerate. While management has been dominated by the dental profession through the use of pharmaceuticals, splints and braces, there has been a growing trend in the involvement of both manual therapists and psychologists , in keeping with the biopsychosocial model.

This presentation aims to assist manual therapists in managing their TMJ and craniofacial pain patients by reviewing the background anatomy and biomechanics of the TMJ and by examining the various manual therapy options (such as manipulation, mobilisation and myofascial techniques) that have been described in the literature; with a view to expanding both their available technique set, as well as suggesting some multimodal physical therapy protocols for the various types of TMD.