By the time people seek treatment for their neck pain and headaches, it’s not because of the occasional twinge, but rather for problems that have lasted several months. Common complaints include migraines and tension headaches, not being able to turn one’s head fully, all-over neck soreness, stabbing pain localized to one spot on the neck, or pain that radiates as far down as the fingertips.
In some cases, the causes of your headaches or neck pain may be obvious
if you’ve recently been in a car accident or suffered a sports injury, for example. Often, however, problems can develop through poor posture or from having to perform the same action repeatedly. In addition, if you’re often obliged to spend too much time at your desk or in the car, the resulting muscle weakness can add to the problem.
Patients who seek treatment from their neck-centered issues are often surprised to learn that some other problems they’ve been experiencing might be related. So even if you think you can “live with” not being able to turn your neck fully, other problems can accumulate.
For example, if you have chronic migraines or frequent bouts of tension headaches, a pinched nerve in your neck may actually be the culprit, rather than your diet or your busy schedule. In addition, you may find that the problems you’ve been having with shoulder mobility — or shooting pains down your arms and hands — often spring from compressed nerves in your upper vertebrae.
Untreated neck pain can even lead to issues you might never expect, such as balance problems or trouble gripping objects. That’s because each of the nerve roots located in your upper vertebrae are connected to other parts of your body, from your biceps to each of your little fingers.
Treatment of your neck pain and headaches
Once we’ve diagnosed the main cause of your neck pain and stiffness, as well as headaches that we’ve determined stem from upper vertebrae issues, our physical therapist will develop a treatment plan with you. In your sessions, you’ll be taken through moves that build strength and flexibility. Our physical therapist will also help you learn how to better position yourself during your daily life to avoid relapses, including ergonomic and posture tips.
TMJ Dysfunction and pain
Relief Your TMJ Dysfunction with Long Island Physical Therapy
Are you having difficulty chewing or yawning? Do you have jaw pain? Do you hear a clicking noise when you open and shut your mouth? If so, these may all be symptoms of TMJ dysfunction. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, also known as TMJ dysfunction, is a condition that causes pain and stiffness of the jaw joint and its surrounding muscles. This can make it very difficult to open your mouth, talk, yawn, and chew.
The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull. If there is an injury to this joint or it becomes damaged in any way, TMJ dysfunction may develop. It’s important to realize that the temporomandibular joint is a complex and important structure comprised of bones, tendons, and muscles that may cause you to feel pain on one or both sides of the jaw. If you are suffering from TMJ dysfunction, or you think you might be, contact Long island physical therapy today to schedule an appointment and find relief.
There is no single method or surefire way of diagnosing TMJ dysfunction. If you believe you may be suffering from this condition, a medical professional will analyze your medical history and perform a physical exam. Your physician may also send you to an otolaryngologist or a dentist specializing in jaw disorders. The idea is to rule out other medical problems before diagnosing the patient with TMJ dysfunction, as the symptoms may also be due to a condition known as trigeminal neuralgia, salivary gland disease, or even swollen lymph nodes. Once your diagnosis has been determined, you will be treated based on the nature of your symptoms.
Symptoms of this TMJ dysfunction include pain in the jaw, jaw popping, headaches, sore jaw muscles, locking of the jaw, pain in the temple, and earaches. There are many reasons why TMJ dysfunction may develop, but some common causes include misalignment of the teeth, gum chewing, arthritis, teeth grinding, or a jaw injury.
In some cases, home remedies can be used to treat TMJ dysfunction. Some people respond well to over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Ibuprofen or Aspirin. Applying ice packs directly to the jaw joint can also help relieve pain. You may also find temporary relief through sedative essential oils, such as clary sage or lavender. When home remedies don’t work at providing relief, medical intervention may be necessary. Stronger muscle relaxers or anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to manage pain. A jaw specialist may also use a dental splint to keep teeth properly aligned and prevent tooth grinding. Other types of medical treatment include trigger point acupuncture , joint replacement, or a TMJ arthroscopy.
However, if you want to avoid taking pain-relieving medication and use a more holistic approach, physical therapy is perhaps one of the most effective treatments for TMJ dysfunction. At your initial appointment, a comprehensive evaluation will be done of the neck, shoulder girdle, and thoracic spine in order to determine if those structures are causing your symptoms. Afterward, our dedicated physical therapist will create a treatment plan based on the nature of your symptoms and your specific needs.
Our Physical therapist will analyze your jaw mobility and release muscle tension in the areas surrounding your neck and head. The goal of physical therapy is to restore your normal function and the interaction of the jaw muscles and joints. Your treatment plan may consist of any combination of methods and modalities, including jaw exercises, soft tissue massage, joint mobilization, myofascial techniques, electrical stimulation, or ultrasound.
Contact us at Long Island Physical Therapy so our physical therapist can help you quickly resolve the debilitating neck and jaw pain you’re feeling now – and learn how to prevent it in the future.