What is the TMJ or Temporo-Mandibular Joint

The temporo-mandibular joint, or TMJ, acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull.

The jaw is one of our most used body parts - it is involved with eating, talking, breathing and, probably most importantly, expressing our feelings and emotions. This doesn't even include its extra uses as a hair and gum chewer, extra hand, head rest and bottle-opener.

Because of its importance, and the stressors to which it is exposed, things can go wrong, and it can hurt. So what is happening here?

TMJ and Jaw Pain

Discussion about jaw pain invariably involves the temporo-mandibular joint or TMJ, and this is warranted.

The TMJ is a complex joint both in structure and function and serves as the 'hinge' around which the jaw moves. I say hinge in quotes because the movement here is not as simple, and this is often where problems arise. The movement is a bit of a roll, and a bit of slide which is governed by a system of muscles, ligaments and a cartilaginous disk which sits between the two bones.

So what goes wrong? The joint can get irritated and inflamed, the disc can get struck forward, and the joint can get stiff - or the opposite, and have way too much movement - and you end up in severe discomfort, contemplating a soup diet. BUT, Jaw pain is not always coming from the joints themselves.

Normal TMJ Rotation and Translation 

Normal TMJ video

The Symptoms of TMJ

Some of the symptoms that may be experienced are:

  • Pain or tenderness of the jaw
  • Headache
  • Facial pain
  • Ear pain, ringing in the ear
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Clicking sound or grating sensation when opening the mouth or chewing

Anterior disc displacement with reduction

This video demonstrates anterior disc displacement with reduction.

TMJ and Jaw Pain Conditions We Treat

  • Pain or tenderness of the jaw
  • Clicking jaw: Anteriorly Displaced Disk with reduction  
  • Locked Jaw: Anteriorly displaced disk without reduction
  • Restricted opening
  • Post Arthrocentesis rehabilitation
  • Facial reconstructions
  • Jaw replacements
  • Grinding teeth: bruxism
  • Facial pain
  • Persistent tooth pain not responding to dental treatment
  • Ear pain
  • Arthritis/Arthralgia (jaw joint pain)
  • Myalgia (muscle pain)
  • Bells Palsy/Ramsay Hunt syndrome

TMJ and Jaw Resources

Our patient and referrer resources can help you better understand, manage and treat TMJ and Jaw pain.

Headache, Neck & Jaw Conditions We Treat

Our Brisbane clinics specialise in the treatment of head, neck and jaw conditions, many of which are notoriously difficult to treat. If you’re experiencing symptoms of any of the following problems, our team has the expertise and training to help.



Jaw and Orofacial Pain

Neck Pain and Trauma

Whiplash and Nerve Pain

Vertigo & Dizziness


Singing / Vocal


Book an Appointment

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort then don’t put it off - contact our friendly team today to make an appointment with one of our expert physiotherapists.

How Can The Headache, Neck & Jaw Clinic help me with TMJ Recovery?

Our expertise is in treating Headache, Neck and Jaw conditions, with over 80% of our client base being treated for these conditions. We understand that each person is an individual, requiring their own recovery treatment program. We also recognise that jaw pain is multifactorial, and can assess whether the TMJs are dysfunctional, if the pain is due to external muscular issues, neural sensitivity, a neck problem, or in most cases a combination.

Our aim is to make a full assessment, help relieve the initial symptoms, and then assist in the recovery of your injury by fixing the problem. In some cases, this may require working with other healthcare professionals.

Our highly trained physiotherapists can assist by conducting a complete assessment of the injury and, in collaboration, will set out a full treatment, education and exercise program.

Treatment may include a combination of passive joint mobilisation, spinal manipulation and exercises. Dry Needling or laser treatment may be applied to help relieve the symptoms.

Our physiotherapists will explain in detail the outcome of your assessment, collaborate with you on what is required, and set out a program of setting future appointments for ongoing treatment providing written information and ongoing education instructions on exercises to help heal and strengthen the neck.

We can also provide you with advice and guidelines to help control acute jaw pain.

We enjoy working with the challenges of facial and jaw pain and dysfunction and enjoy the successes that come with it being our concentration of treatment. If you have jaw pain or are worried about a stiff or clicky jaw, please give us a call today or book online now.

TMJ Case Studies

TMJ and Jaw Resources

2017 TMJ Study

Based on a retrospective study of treatment outcomes in 2011, we can postulate that physiotherapy is effective at increasing active range of motion for people who identify as TMD sufferers. Read more.

Case Study: Anteriorly Displaced Disc Without Reduction

The purpose of this case study is to illustrate an example of how a common orthopaedic presentation that traditionally may have been treated symptomatically, can be treated dynamically with positive results. Read more.

Book Your Appointment Now!

Get in touch with us today for more information on our services or to make an appointment with our friendly team.