The Joint Ventures' Blog

Physical Therapy Specialties: TMJ Disorders, Pelvic Floor Health and Vestibular Therapy

Friday, September 29, 2017

Herniated discs, sprained ankles, and shoulder tendinitis are all diagnoses people think of as injuries that a physical therapist might treat. While these common musculoskeletal conditions do frequently require physical therapy, you may not be aware of some of these lesser known conditions within the scope of practice of a physical therapist:

1) TMJ Disorders: From clicking and popping, to trouble eating and sleeping, Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ or TMD) can be painful and frustrating. The temporomandibular joint is comprised of an articular disc between your jaw bone and your skull. This disc can become displaced or even torn leading to significant pain and facial muscle spasm. Physical therapists work to stretch and release the muscles that surround the jaw, as well as mobilize the joint and allow the disc to move properly.

2) Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation: Over 66% of women experience some type of pelvic floor dysfunction after pregnancy, which can lead to pain and interfere with their daily lives. With specialized training, physical therapists are well qualified to treat issues such as incontinence, vulvodynia, and diastasis recti. And men have a pelvic floor too! Our 1-on-1 treatment model and private treatment rooms create the perfect environment for our pelvic floor specialists to treat these issues with comfort and ease.

3) Concussions: Over the past decade, the medical community has truly realized the dangers and potential long term side-effects that concussions present, especially in youth sports and the developing brain. After suffering a concussion, there are often a lot of questions about proper level of activity versus rest, and confusion about when it’s safe to return to exercise and sports.  Specially trained physical therapists can help people of all ages, move through the stages of recovery safely and return to their activities quicker.

4) Vertigo: Dizziness and balance problems can result from a wide range of problems. One common one we see in physical therapy is BPPV, which stands for benign positional paroxysmal vertigo. It is a debilitating condition that can include dizziness, nausea, balance issues, and visual disturbances. This is typically due to a displacement of the tiny crystals known as 'otoliths' inside your inner ear. Physical therapists who are vestibular specialists can usually identify this disorder and, through a series of head maneuvers, relocate the crystals and alleviate the symptoms.

5) Headaches:   Many times headaches can be related to tension in muscles or joint restrictions in the neck.  These can affect a person's ability to function on a daily basis. The most common type of headaches may be caused by poor posture, stress, muscle tightness, or a neck injury. A physical therapist can help to determine the type of headache a person is experiencing, and what the best treatments may be to help alleviate the symptoms.  Physical therapists can perform manual techniques to loosen up tight muscles or joints and can teach the patient about proper posture of the neck and upper body to decrease stress and tension that might be leading to these headaches.

The best news of all?  Joint Ventures has multiple specialists in each of these areas to help you! So the next time you've got a pain, strain, or even migraine, remember to check with your physical therapist to see if it's something that they might be able to treat!

For more information call to set an appointment 617-536-1161 or email Marissa Tedeschi, DPT, OCS

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