What causes pain in TMJ syndrome?

Updated: Jun 02, 2020
  • Author: Vivian Tsai, MD, MPH, FACEP; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
  • Print

Pain and functional disturbances related to the TMJ are common. [1] Uyanik et al identifies the following three distinct causes of pain at the TMJ, which collectively fall under the broader term of TMJ syndrome [3] :

  • Myofascial pain dysfunction (MPD) syndrome, pain at the TMJ due to various causes of increased muscle tension and spasm. It is believed that MPD syndrome is a physical manifestation of psychological stress. No primary disorder of the joint itself is present. Pain is secondary to events such as nocturnal jaw clenching and teeth grinding. Treatment is focused on behavioral modification as opposed to joint repair.

  • Internal derangement (ID), where the problem lies within the joint itself, most commonly with the position of the articulating disc

  • Degenerative joint disease, where arthritic changes result in degeneration of the articulating surfaces

See also Temporomandibular Disorders.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!