What is TMD, TMJ, or MSD? And who should get therapy?

TMJ stands for Temporal Mandibular Joint or jaw joint. This is the joint where the mandible (lower jaw) articulates (hinges) with the temporal bones on both sides of the skull. A disc in this joint separates the mandible from the temporal bones. When you speak, yawn, chew or swallow, this is where the lower jaw articulates with the temporal bones. The jaw joints can be found with your fingers when you open and close your mouth. They are just in front of your ears.

TMD stands for Temporal Mandibular Disorder, which describes an incorrect relationship of the mandible (lower jaw) to the temporal bones on the left and right side of the skull. It is commonly referred to as a “TMJ problem.” The muscles in the face move the lower jaw when you speak, yawn, chew and swallow. The lower jaw has a special relationship with the upper jaw and temporal bones. When this relationship is abnormal, chronic pain in the face, head, neck, shoulders, jaw joint, etc, may occur. Your teeth and bite support the facial muscles in this special relationship.

Learn more about TMD, TMJ, and MSD here