Temporomandibular disorders. Part 2: Conservative management

Stephen M. Shaffer, Jean Michel Brismée, Phillip S. Sizer, Carol A. Courtney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Appropriate management of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) requires 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 assist 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 utilize 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 address both symptom reduction and oral function. Satisfactory results can often be achieved when management focuses on patient-specific clinical variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Conservative management
  • Review
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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