Innova is happy to announce the launch of our new Seattle clinic, located in West Lake.
1700 Westlake Ave N. Seattle WA 98109, Suite 400

Temporomandibular Dysfunction at Innova

Do you have jaw pain? Does it hurt to open or close your mouth while talking or eating? If the answer is yes, then you might have temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD). This is a group of disorders involving the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). People with TMD may frequently suffer from TMJ pain, as well as headaches, ear pain, tooth pain, dizziness, limited range of motion, and deviations of jaw movement. The TMJ is one of the most powerful and important joints in the body and problems that occur in this area can significantly impact a person's quality of life.

How Innova Can Help

Physical therapy is considered to be the most effective conservative treatment for TMD, potentially eliminating the need for surgery, splinting, or orthodontics. For post-operative patients, physical therapy is essential for optimal recovery from jaw or facial surgery to prevent scar tissue and restore normal biomechanics. Our TMD specialists have been clinically mentored by Dr. Pam Schuerman, who is one of the pioneers in the field of TMD rehabilitation and has 30 years of experience specializing in this area. At Innova all treatment sessions are 60 minute one-on-one with a licensed physical therapist. Our PTs can help to reduce pain and improve range of motion, stability, and motor control which will ultimately help you to optimize your function and quality of life.

Common Causes of TMD

TMD can be a complex condition resulting from one or more causes. Although not comprehensive, the following is a list of the most common causes for TMD:

  • Repetitive or sustained movements of the jaw such as clenching or grinding
  • Mechanical trauma such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, athletic injuries, and other injuries to the head or spine
  • Surgical trauma such as having anesthesia or prolonged dental procedures
  • Posture imbalances and prolonged non-optimal neck positioning
  • Degenerative changes such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis
  • Anatomical issues such as tooth malalignment or dental malocclusion
  • Psychosocial factors such as stress, anxiety, or depression

Individualized Treatment

Your specific treatment plan will depend on a variety of factors that are unique to your condition, lifestyle, and goals. Treatment may include one or more of the following interventions:

  • Manual therapy techniques such as joint mobilization, muscular release, and traction
  • Movement and postural retraining to support optimal patterns and strategies
  • Therapeutic exercise to improve strength and range of motion
  • Interventions to reduce pain and inflammation such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, heat, and ice
  • Ergonomic suggestions for home and work
  • Education regarding pathology, modification of contributing factors, and self care strategies

What to expect on your first visit

Your initial visit begins with a supportive conversation with your physical therapist so they can understand how your condition is affecting your life. Your PT will take a detailed history and review any imaging or post-operative reports. They will also complete a thorough assessment, including physical measurements of your jaw, as well as examining your neck and posture to understand your condition in a holistic manner. Your PT will then craft an individualized treatment program designed to reach your goals for optimal function

Innova's clinicians are highly trained and passionate about helping people improve their lives. Together we can Restore, Revitalize and Renew your body.


TMD Photo
TMD Photo