Adelaide Jaw Physiotherapy

What is TMJ

TMJ refers to the jaw joint, known as the temporomandibular joint. 

So, what is TMD?

TMD refers to disorders of the temporomandibular (jaw) joint, often referred to as temporomandibular dysfunction or disorders. 

The jaw joint is found at the side of the face, just in front of the ear and can be felt whilst opening and closing the mouth. It is an anatomically complex joint and one of the few joints in the body that has a small disc between the bones. It is functionally related to the head and neck.

The condition is also referred to as TMJ (temporomandibular joint).

Common symptoms

Someone with TMD might experience one or more of the following:

  • discomfort in the jaw or face
  • clicking, grating or other noises in the joint during actions such as chewing or yawning
  • unevenness or deviation in movements of the jaw
  • locking or sticking, or a feeling of the jaw being out of position – may be prolonged or brief
  • limited opening or stiffness
  • headaches and / or dizziness
  • earache or a feeling of ear blockage
  • worn teeth, unexplained toothache
  • bruxing (grinding of the teeth during sleep)
  • clenching or tension in the facial jaw or muscles
  • muscular neck and shoulder tension

What causes TMD?

Although symptoms may appear suddenly, they are usually a result of stresses to the joint or muscles which have accumulated over a period of time.

Common causes and predisposing factors are:


  • a direct blow to the face,chin or jaw area
  • biting into something awkwardly
  • whiplash or other indirect trauma
  • dental or surgical trauma


  • clenching or bruxing
  • postural stress / tension
  • abnormal muscular habits or use
  • sudden changes in occlusion


  • hereditary abnormalities
  • arthritis

Can TMD be cured?

In almost all cases, TMD can be alleviated and the problem can be managed effectively. Because it is a chronic condition, changes in lifestyle and habits are necessary to get a good, sustainable result from treatment.

Some people have to learn to live with some inconvenience (eg: a click or occasional discomfort) especially if there is joint damage. We are able to teach ways to minimise these inconveniences. In a few very rare cases, surgery is a viable option. As a rule, the sooner you can address the problem, the easier it will be to rehabilitate.

Treatment of TMD

Treatment is best shared between dentists and / or dental specialist and a physiotherapist who has an in-depth understanding of the joint function.

Contact Us

70 South Terrace Adelaide SA 5000 
T: 8211 8002 | F: 8231 3969

439 Fullarton Road Highgate SA 5063
T: 8271 8622