TMJD, or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), is a chronic condition that affects the jaw joints and muscles of the face. It can cause a range of symptoms, such as pain, difficulty chewing, and sometimes even locking of the jaw. Over 10 million Americans are affected by TMJD, with women more likely than men to suffer from it.

Causes: Stress & Injury

Stress is one of the most common causes of temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD).

Stress can put pressure on the muscles and tissues in the jaw, causing them to become tense and inflexible. This tension may lead to pain and discomfort when chewing, speaking, or yawning. Also, stress can cause a person to grind their teeth or clench their jaw, aggravating TMJD symptoms.

Another potential cause of TMJD is an injury to the jaw area. A blow to the face or whiplash-like motion in a car accident can damage the soft tissue around the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). If this injury is severe enough, it may disrupt the normal functioning of the joint and lead to TMJD symptoms such as clicking sounds when opening and closing your mouth or difficulty opening your mouth wide. Surgery may be necessary in some cases if other treatments do not relieve these symptoms.

Both stress and injury are common causes of TMJD that should be taken seriously if persistent pain arises in the jaw area. Those with TMJD need to visit a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment options so they can receive relief from their painful symptoms as soon as possible.


Pain and discomfort associated with TMJD can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the jaw joint, neck, and face.
  • Difficulty opening or closing the mouth.
  • A clicking sound when opening or closing the jaw.
  • Headaches.


The pain may be constant or intermittent, sharp or dull, localized to one face area, or spread out over several locations. It can also cause earache-like sensations in one or both ears and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Discomfort can also manifest as tension affecting facial muscles near the jaw joint, such as those on the top of the head and behind each ear. These muscles can become tight due to prolonged teeth clenching and grinding at night. Over time, this tension may lead to further issues such as limited range of motion for the jaw when opening wide, locking of the jaw when opening too wide, speaking difficulties due to muscle spasms around lips and tongue, fatigue in facial muscles after talking for long periods, etc.

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