Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD)

franklin jaw pain

Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder affects the joint directly in front of your ear. The TMJ is a hinge that connects your jaw to the Temporal bones of your skull which are in front of each ear. Your mandible (jaw bone) and your Temporal bones get out of alignment causing jaw, facial and ear pain.  TMJD can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. The exact cause of a person’s TMJD can be difficult to determine. Your pain can be from arthritis, clenching or grinding your teeth, a jaw injury, poorly aligned braces or excessive gum chewing.


Symptoms of TMJD include:

  • Pain in the jaw
  • Pain in or around your ear
  • Pain with chewing or talking
  • Facial pain
  • Locking of your jaw, or difficulty opening or closing your mouth
  • Clicking sound when opening your mouth wide


In most cases, the pain from TMJD is temporary and can be relieved with non-surgical procedures. Physical Therapy can help to decrease tissue tension in your facial muscles and the neck, decreasing pain. During your Physical Therapy treatments, you will be initially evaluated and set up with individualized treatments that may include exercises to stretch and strengthen your jaw, neck and upper back muscles. It is extremely important with TMJD to make sure a patient retains correct posture of the neck and upper back.


Other non-surgical treatments for TMJD are acupuncture, relaxation techniques and biofeedback. If your jaw pain does not resolve with more conservative treatments and it appears to be a structural problem with the joint itself, your doctor/dentist may suggest you see a specialized surgeon for an evaluation. If surgery is recommended for you, be sure to discuss the potential benefits and risks, as well as what all your options are prior to making that commitment.


For more information on how to treat TMJD with physical therapy or if you suspect you may be suffering from this common disorder contact Franklin Rehabilitation for a free pain analysis.