Symptoms: Common symptoms include pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide. The jaw may feel stuck or locked and you may hear clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew. This may or may not be painful.

Causes: Some TMD is caused by trauma but for most people it starts without a know reason. Joint overloads in combination with poor mechanics such as muscle imbalance, joint mobility issues of the neck or TM joint or poor patterns of occlusion play a central role in the development of TMD. Women have TMD more than men.

Relief: Since physical therapist treat muscle and joint problems, they are ideally suited to address a TMD. A comprehensive evaluation of the TMJ and neck as well as postural and motor control is performed to determine the right treatment. A number of treatments are effective including manual therapy to TMJ and neck, trigger point dry needling for the surrounding muscles and/or ultrasound. Muscular retraining exercises are important to improving the posture and allowing the neck and jaw to work together properly. Education on activity modification, improved postures for work and sleep helps the pt understand the effects of stress and decrease their symptoms.