Tips for TMJD

Tips for TMJD (Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder, formerly TMJ)

Originally postd on November 5, 2015

Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD or formerly TMJ) can have a variety of symptoms including jaw clicking, muscle tightness, joint stiffness, locking, pain, tingling, numbness and others that can have an impact on a person’s quality of life. The presence and intensity of these symptoms can vary significantly between cases. Our goal is give some quick tips about general TMJD management that you can do now! If symptoms persist or are severe, we highly recommend speaking to your Doctor or a Physical Therapist about treatment options.

  1. Sleep Environment: Make sure you have a pillow that allows your head and neck to be in a neutral alignment.
    1. Sleeping on your side with a pillow in front for you to rest your arm on can help relieve neck and upper back tension.
    2. It is also important to check your bedroom for drafts and cold spots.

  1. Be mindful of Teeth Clenching: We can often clench without even knowing it.
    1. Consider setting a timer to go off a few times during the day (Great to add to your 20:20:20 reminder) as a reminder to self-reflect on your body’s tension and clenching.
    2. If you notice yourself clenching your teeth, gently touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth to help calm the jaw and as a reminder to not clench.
    3. If you find your jaw to be very sore in the mornings, you may be clenching at night. To mitigate night clenching consider a night guard when you sleep.

Body awareness is key to managing any muscular skeletal condition. Set yourself reminders. Ask a friend or co-worker to help remind you or alert you if they see you in a bad or sustained posture. These tips are intended to give general information on managing TMJD, but it is not an exhaustive list. We highly recommend speaking to your Doctor or Physical Therapist if you are experiencing symptoms and especially if you have been experiencing pain or other symptoms for a while.

Written by Valerie Watase, PT Owner and Director of Lafayette Physical Therapy
& Jill Ramsey, BSBA Administrative Director of Lafayette Physical Therapy
Arranged and Edited by Julia Slater, BA Community Outreach Coordinator

[The TMJA Association, Ltd.]. Retrieved from 
[Disease and Conditions: TMJ Disorders]. Retrieved from


This article is intended as general health information and is not intended to provide individual specific medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or any other individual. Please consult your doctor or a medical professional before starting or changing a fitness or nutrition program.


Valerie Watase, PT

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