Temporomandibular disorders. Part 2: conservative management

Suitable management of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) necessitates an understanding of the underlying dysfunction associated with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and surrounding structures. A comprehensive examination process, as described in part 1 of this series, can reveal underlying clinical findings that aid in the delivery of comprehensive physical therapy services for patients with TMD. Part 2 of this series focuses on management strategies for TMD. Physical therapy is the preferred conservative management approach for TMD. Physical therapists are professionally well-positioned to step into the void and provide clinical services for patients with TMD. Clinicians should make use of examination findings to design rehabilitation programs that focus on addressing patient-specific impairments. Potentially appropriate plan of care components include joint and soft tissue mobilization, trigger point dry needling, friction massage, therapeutic exercise, patient education, modalities, and outside referral. Management options should seal with symptom reduction as well as oral function. Acceptable results can often be accomplished when management focuses on patient-specific clinical variables.

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