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What is TMD Therapy?

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I am a chronic jaw-clencher,” said St. Luke’s patient Cassie. “Because of that, I have struggled with jaw, neck and tooth pain for a majority of my life. When my dentist referred me to physical therapy to address the issue, I didn’t think I was going to see much of a difference. But, boy, was I wrong!”

"I didn’t think I was going to see much of a difference.
But, boy, was I wrong!"
 

Designed to act like a hinge, the jaw is connected to the skull on either side by the temporomandibular joints (TMJs). Issues with these joints and the associated muscles that control them are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Common symptoms include headaches, ear pain, neck pain and even vertigo.

Cassie started seeing St. Luke’s Physical Therapist Mike Cheslak, PT, DPT, OCS, for TMD therapy in 2020. They paused treatment during the pandemic but have recently picked things up again. She couldn’t be happier with the results. “I’ve gone from daily headaches to just occasional ones,” she said. “He has definitely given me the tools to minimize my symptoms and clenching habit.”

“This is empowering for people. I think that’s really important.”

Mike loves seeing patients improve. He also enjoys giving them what they need to manage TMD issues long-term. “A good home program helps patients maintain their progress long after they stop seeing their physical therapist,” he said. “This is empowering for people. I think that’s really important.”

Learn more at slhduluth.com/TMD.

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