Temperomandibular joint disorder or TMD is either acute or chronic inflammation of the temperomandibular joint (TMJ), which is located on either side of the head, just in front of the ear.
This can occur secondary to:
trauma (such as dental work or whiplash injury)
microtrauma (repetitive loading from chewing gum, nail biting)
After evaluating the neck and jaw, your physical therapist will work with you on postural re-education, improving joint mobility and eliminating aggravating factors (such as grinding of the jaw, stress).
If you answered yes to any of the following questions, you may have TMD and may benefit from a physical therapy evaluation:
- Do you have difficulty with opening, locking or catching of the jaw?
- Do you have noises such as clicking, popping or grinding at the jaw?
- Do you have pain in or around the ear, jaw, temple or cheeks?
- Do you have pain with chewing, yawning, talking or using the jaw?
- Have you had a recent injury to the head or neck?
- Do you clench or grind your teeth?