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The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Pain

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jawbone to your skull on each side of your face. Injury and inflammation may damage the TMJ joint which could lead to a painful condition, known as TMJ disorder. A variety of factors causes a patient to develop TMJ disorder, such as arthritis, improper joint formation, trauma to the jaw, bruxism, or genetics. These factors may lead to painful symptoms of the TMJ joint. Often, TMJ disorder is temporary and can be managed with nonsurgical treatments.

As mentioned above, sudden or severe jaw pain may be caused by several factors. However, TMJ flare-ups can be triggered by other factors, such as:

  • Stress
  • Poor posture. Improper alignment of spine- protracting jaw
  • Eating habits
  • Hormonal changes
  • Dehydration

Signs and symptoms associated with TMJ disorders include:

  • Jaw pain and clicking
  • Ear pain
  • Headaches
  • Stiff and sore jaw
  • Muscle spasms in the jaw
  • Difficulty chewing/ opening and closing jaw
  • Lump in temple area
  • Dizziness

For accurate diagnosis, your doctor will assess your medical history and do a physical exam. Imaging tests such as TMJ arthroscopy, X-ray, CT scan, and MRI may be necessary to obtain high quality pictures of the TMJ joint. TMJ disorders can go away on their own without any treatments. However, if the system persists and is severe, a variety of treatments options are available. Some of the treatment options include:

  • Pain relievers and muscle relaxants
  • TMJ exercises
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Oral splints
  • Acupuncture


Surgical procedure may be the treatment option in severe cases and if the methods listed above fail to relieve symptoms or treat TMJ disorder. Suggested surgical procedures such as Arthrocentesis, modified condylotomy and open-joint surgery may be beneficial to treat TMJ disorders.


The contents contained within this page are not a substitute for health professionals’ advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We advise that you seek advice from a qualified healthcare practitioner. We fully disclose that any surgical or invasive procedures come with risks.

For more details on how to relieve or treat chronic pain, you can reach out to one of our pain specialists at any of our pain care clinic locations. We establish a caring relationship and provide patients with pain relief when needed the most.