Specialists in Physical Therapy & Treatment of Pain & Dysfunction

Orofacial Physical Therapy Bethesda MD & Rockville MD

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Orofacial physical therapy is increasingly common in the management of persons with pain of the jaw, head and neck. In a study of over 45,000 American households, almost 22% experienced orofacial pain in the past six months. Nearly 40 million adult Americans are experiencing orofacial pain on a regular basis. In addition, many children experience pain in their faces, jaw (temporomandibular pain), and suffer from daily headaches.

Orofacial physical therapy is a highly specialized part of orthopedic physical therapy. In general, physical therapists have little if any information, knowledge and skill in the physical therapy diagnosis and management of orofacial disorders. In fact, the current edition of the Guide to Physical Therapy Practice, a prominent document published by the American Physical Therapy Association, does not include any information about orofacial physical therapy.

Drs. Dommerholt and Finnegan are among few physical therapists in the greater Washington metropolitan area with advanced training in orofacial physical therapy, and are among only a few Maryland members of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain. Drs. Dommerholt and Finnegan have been keynote speakers at the annual conference of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain. Drs. Dommerholt and Finnegan have taught several orofacial dry needling certification courses in conjunction with the Physical Therapy Board of Craniofacial & Cervical Therapeutics (PTBCCT).

They have completed advanced coursework with Dr. Mariano Rocabado who is one of the world’s leaders in this field. In addition to attending several courses, Dr. Dommerholt was invited by Dr. Rocabado to complete an advanced clinical internship in Santiago, Chile, during which Dr. Rocabado and Dr. Dommerholt evaluated and treated many patients with a wide variety of temporomandibular pain, headaches, neck pain, whiplash, congenital facial deformities, etc.

Many recent studies support the observation that myofascial trigger points frequently contribute to migraines and tension-type headaches, as well as pain in the jaw, cheeks, and teeth.

Our expertise in the management of patients with orofacial pain and dysfunction is widely recognized. Our patients come from as far as central Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and beyond, and include nearly all age groups. For an example of our results, read Jeannette’s success story.

Our orofacial physical therapy approach includes an extensive examination of the jaw, mouth, neck, and rest of the spine. Much attention is paid to posture, hypermobility, movement patterns, and perpetuating factors. Following the initial physical therapy examination, Dr. Dommerholt or Dr. Finnegan develop a comprehensive treatment plan, which forms the basis of the physical therapy program. We work closely with referring physicians, dentists, oral surgeons, ear-nose-and-throat specialists, and orthodontists.

Dr. Dommerholt was one of only a few physical therapists invited to contribute a chapter to a four-volume Spanish dental and orthodontic textbook (Dommerholt J: El sindrome de dolor miofascial en la region craneomandibular [in Spanish: Myofascial pain syndrome in the craniomandibular region], in Bases diagnosticas, terapeuticas y posturales del functionalismo craniofacial, E. Padrós Serrat, Editor. Madrid: Ripano; 2006: 564–581). Read chapter (pdf) »

Dr. Finnegan is one of few physical therapists in the the country who is a Certified Cervical & Temporomandibular Therapist (CCTT) administered by the Physical Therapy Board of Craniofacial & Cervical Therapists

All doctors of physical therapy are trained by the Cranio Facial Therapy Academy, an advanced European post-graduate training institute.

For more information about orofacial physical therapy, please do not hesitate to contact us.