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Guide to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

What is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

The TMJ acts as a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. There is one on either side of your jaw. TMJ disorders can cause pain in your jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movements.

What causes Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

TMJ can be classified into two groups. The first group being muscular where the muscle surrounding the jaw becomes tight, develop trigger points and facial restrictions limiting mouth movement. The second group is articular which mainly arises as a result of disc displacement, loose bodies, trauma and infection.

The TMJ can cause pain when the disc erodes or moves out of its proper alignment, this is where you hear a popping sound on opening and closing of the mouth.

How is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder diagnosed?

Some of the most common symptoms experienced with TMJ are:

  • Jaw or facial pain
  • Pain in or around the temporomandibular joints
  • Increase in pain when chewing
  • Limited opening of the mouth with associated clicking
  • Possible headache and earache
  • Tender surrounding musculatures

Our practitioners will discuss your symptoms and examine your jaw. They will listen to and feel your jaw when you open and close your mouth, observe how wide you are capable of opening and will press on areas around the jaw to identify areas of discomfort and pain.

How is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder treated?

Upon a complete examination, your practitioner will recommend a variety of treatment options, often more than one that is done at the same time. Non-surgical intervention of TMJ has been shown to be as effective as any surgical intervention. Management will be conservative and simple focusing on manual therapy, exercise and the avoidance of aggravating activities.

Some of the treatments will involve muscular components of the jaw and possible manipulation of the joint. Advice on stretching and postural corrections. These are just some of the treatments that can be provided and will depend on what your practitioner decides is best for you.


Vizniak, N., Carnes, M. and Vizniak, N., 2007. Quick Reference Conservative Care Conditions Manual. Vancouver: Professional Health Systems.

Kalamir A, Bonello R, Graham P, Vitiello AL, Pollard H. Intraoral myofascial therapy for chronic myogenous temporomandibular disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics. 2012 Jan 1;35(1):26-37.

La Touche R, Boo-Mallo T, Zarzosa-Rodríguez J, Paris-Alemany A, Cuenca-Martínez F, Suso-Martí L. Manual therapy and exercise in temporomandibular joint disc displacement without reduction. A systematic review. CRANIO®. 2020 Jun 28:1-1.

Micarelli A, Viziano A, Granito I, Micarelli RX, Augimeri I, Alessandrini M. Temporomandibular disorders and cervicogenic dizziness: Relations between cervical range of motion and clinical parameters. CRANIO®. 2020 Jun 17:1-0.

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