What is TMJ and how do you diagnose it?
TMJ stands for the temporo-mandibular joint. This is an anatomical term. Literally it is where the lower jaw (mandible) inserts into the skull base. The exact area of the skull is anatomically described as the temporal bone. The coming together of these two bones is referred as a joint, thus the term temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ). Usually when people they say “I have TMJ”, they are either talking about a muscle imbalance or a joint imbalance. Again a diagnosis must be made to distinguish between the two. Treatment can then be directed towards the specific problem. This usually is accomplished with a combination of splint therapy (there are many different splints that can be used depending on the problem), physical therapy, medications, behavior modification and even minor arthroscopic surgery.
An exciting new development is the relationship between airway obstruction and TMJ dysfunction.