Why do we complete passive range of motion exercises for trismus therapy?

Jul 10, 2023

Passive range of motion of motion exercises are an important part of trismus intervention. Passive ROM provides the following benefits: 

1. Increases joint mobility

2. Increases ROM of the joint

3. Stretches

4. Pain relief

5. It is motion by a device or another person

6. It is effort not expended 

it does not: prevent muscle atrophy. These exercises may be indicated if a patient is unable to complete them and needs the assistance of another person or device. As a therapist we utilize passive ROM following clearance from our ear, nose and throat surgeon potentially post operatively. Each surgeon's guidance is different and we collaborate with each surgeon on our role and timeline. 

Passive ROM for jaw mobility may be used following radiotherapy/XRT as a means to work towards active ROM if the patient is not able to tolerate active ROM due to pain. 

Passive ROM is used in conjunction with myofasical release and manual therapy. One additional benefit of completing passive ROM with your patient include increased muscle pump activity which offers movement of lymphatic flow and encourages lymph pump. 

Your physical or speech pathologist may complete a passive range of motion exercise such as placing a gloved finger on your mandible or lower teeth to open the jaw. Because this is completed by an external force (the therapist's pull) this is passive. They may also use a jaw mobilizing device as part of your protocol to stretch the opening of the mouth. In our program the ARKJ jaw stretching can be utilized as a means of passive range of motion. 

Visit our youtube channel to learn more: