TMJ Physical Therapy

TMD / TMJ Physical Therapy in Wasilla, Alaska

Northern Edge Physical Therapy is the right choice for your TMJ physical therapy treatment in Wasilla, Alaska. We are the only physical therapy practice in the state of Alaska that offers clients excellence in physical therapy with specialized programs such as; Dry Needling, Redcord, AlterG Anti-gravity Treadmill, Low-level Laser Therapy, and Massage Therapy.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD) involve a dysfunction of the jaw or facial muscles involved in chewing, talking and swallowing. It’s important to recognize that TMD problems don’t describe the actual condition or problems causing the pain and limits. Why is this important? It sets the tone for diagnosis and treatment. Typically, a disorder involves a condition which is multi-factorial, indiscriminate, and unpredictable. Anyway you look at it, living with jaw pain is a miserable experience. The good news is there are effective and proven methods to eliminate TMD. If your jaw ‘clicks’, ‘pops’ or if you suffer from an aching jaw or nagging headaches, the specialized therapists at Northern Edge Physical Therapy may be your solution to living without jaw pain.

Multifactorial – more than one TMJ structure is injured or impaired which means that symptoms are poorly patterned and injured structures are difficult to isolate.

Indiscriminate – Most of us have some imbalance of the facial muscles and/or dysfunction of the TMJ but not everyone develops TMD. In fact, the prevalence for TMD is less than 20% for adults.

Unpredictable – Although it’s possible for TMD to resolve without treatment, there’s a strong likelihood this condition could become a chronic problem. Unusual for chronic pain conditions, the prevalence rates of temporomandibular joint disorders are higher among younger persons.

The challenge with TMD is pinpointing which structures are dysfunctional and determining the most promising treatments. Lack of specific diagnosis and TMJ treatment may be the reason TMD tends to become chronic. Northern Edge Physical Therapy understands the challenges faced by those suffering TMD and seeking TMJ physical therapy. Our examination is designed to be specific allowing us to identify structures which are either causing pain or delaying healing. Our TMJ treatment is directed towards the pain and the barriers to healing. We offer specialized TMJ physical therapy programs to help achieve pain-relief and enhance function.


  • Here is what happens: Acute trauma or repetitive loading can cause tissue injury around the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ).  Daily activities such as chewing and talking can lead to further pain and dysfunction due to the imbalance of injured muscles or overload of restricted joint structures.  A simple muscle imbalance or joint restriction can lead to impaired joint loading, muscle trigger points and improper movement patterns.
  • Until you get better: Movement is the fuel of all life and promotes healing.  Some movement is better than none especially in the case of TMD.  Healing is often delayed in situations where anxiety and fear of re-injury prevents movement.
  • Repeat injury: Lack of movement and Inflammation prevents nutrients from reaching injured tissues.  Some inflammation is natural during the healing process but it can become excessive and persistent due to inactivity, stress, repeated trauma and lack of treatment.  Other weakened or deconditioned areas not affected by the original injury can become painful and limited due to persistent inflammation and lack of movement.
  • Trigger pain reflex: Pain triggers a reflexive change in movement patterns.  Movement becomes un-natural and leads to imbalanced posture, uncontrolled motion and excessive guarding.  Pain can easily become a training aide that reshapes movement patterns and alters muscle activation in efforts to protect and shield tissues/joints from further injury.  However, just like inflammation this pain driven reflex can become excessive and persistent.
Northern Edge Physical Therapy is committed to helping clients achieve natural healing and pain relief. TMJ treatment will begin on your first visit. After a thorough evaluation of neck posture, TMJ joint motion, and soft tissue restrictions, your therapist will develop a treatment protocol unique to your condition. Clients will have the option to elect specialized treatment techniques proven to relieve pain. Manual therapy techniques such as mobilization and dry needling have been shown to decrease pain associated with dysfunction of joints and muscles of the jaw and upper neck. Oromotor exercises are utilized to retrain the tongue and facial muscles which control the TMJ. A combination of these treatment methods is the best path to restore function and achieve lasting relief from TMD. 

Meet Your Provider

Dr. Jimmy Sliwa

Physical Therapist


Dr. Jimmy Sliwa has helped many patients with temporomandibular joint pain and dysfunction live a pain free and fully functional life. He has an uncanny ability of releasing the restriction that causes the pain through movement therapy and dry needling. Most patients report a full recovery under his guidance.

Born and raised in the Mat-Su Valley, Jimmy Sliwa has had the opportunity to establish his career in the community he grew up in. Jimmy graduated with his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Eastern Washington University in 2016. Upon graduation, Jimmy and his wife Anna returned to Alaska, where he was born and raised, to plant their family roots.

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