TMJ stands for Temporomandibular joint or the jaw joint. The TMJ's are the small joints in front of each ear that attach the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull (maxilla). They allow you to perform such functions as opening and closing your mouth, chewing, speaking and swallowing. TMJ dysfunction or Temporal Mandibular Dysfunction (TMD) refers to a malfunction of how the jaw joint should work normally.

How Can A Physical Therapist Help?

Therapy can help by increasing your ability to actively participate in everyday activities including work, speech, eating normal foods and by reducing pain and discomfort. This is accomplished through a comprehensive initial evaluation and specialized treatment.


  • facial pain

  • pain in the jaw joint and surrounding tissues, including the ear

  • jaw locking open or closed

  • clicking or clunking of the jaw

  • limited opening or inability to open the mouth comfortably

  • headaches

  • bite that feels uncomfortable, "off", or as if it is continually changing

  • neck, shoulder and back pain

  • swelling on the side of the face

Rocabado Technique Certified

Dawn Sandalcidi is a certified instructor of the Mariano Rocabado techniques for the spine, pelvis and craniomandibular joints (RCMT). Professor Rocabado is the world's pre-eminet authority in the treatment of TMJ disorders from a cranio-cervical perspective. He has pioneered numerous treatment techniques for the dentist and physical therapist and has published much of his work in this field.

The program that Dr. Rocabado created to treat TMJ includes six fundamental components:  the rest position of the tongue, TMJ rotation control, rhythmic stabilization technique, liberation of the cervical joint, axial extension of the cervical spine and shoulder girdle retraction. Dawn has trained the therapists in the office to treat patients with these techniques.

What Should I Expect When I Go To Therapy?

Expect help! Once you have scheduled your first appointment with us, we will need to gather important information to ensure we provide you with the best possible care. A patient information packet will need to be completed and provided to our staff when you arrive for your first appointment. The patient information packet will include a description of what to expect, as well as a patient history questionnaire. Your patient information packet can be mailed to your home or downloaded here. For more information visit Frequently Asked Questions.

Following the evaluation, an individualized treatment plan is developed. This plan is based on the evaluation findings, and input from your dentist or other medical provider. Treatment for temporal mandibular dysfunction may include the following:


  • soft tissue massage

  • joint mobilization

  • patient education

  • ultrasound

  • iontophoresis

  • ice/heat

  • functional exercises

  • home exercise program


Your provider will receive a copy of the initial evaluation, progress notes and the discharge summary.

Working PTS has helped me to understand by body and regain my life again!

D.S., Centennial, CO

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3989 E Arapahoe Road Suite 120
Centennial, CO  80122     


303.770.5459 (fax)