The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint that operates the jaw and is located just in front of the ears. This joint gets quite the workout on a daily basis every time you open your mouth. So it should be at no surprise that it is possible for this active joint to develop problems. When there is injury or repeated stress applied to this joint, pain and dysfunction can occur. This is called a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
TMD signs and symptoms:
- Pain in your jaw, neck, shoulders and near your ears
- Clicking and grinding sensation in the area of the TMJ
- Locking and/or dislocation of the jaw
- Decreased ability to open your jaw
In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMD can be alleviated with physical therapy. Physical therapy focuses on the reduction of muscle spasms, pain and, as needed, tips and tools to help reduce stress.