What is TMJ / TMD?

what is tmj
An estimated 75% of the U.S. population has experienced one or more signs or symptoms of Temporal Mandibular Disorder (TMD) and Craniofacial Pain (CFP). Most TMD symptoms are temporary and fluctuate over time, requiring little or no professional intervention; but, an estimated 5-10% of the U.S. population will require professional treatment. TMD and CFP usually involve more than a single symptom and rarely have a single cause. The pain may arise suddenly or progress over months to years with intermittent frequency and intensity.

Because there is no quick fix or immediate cure for TMD and CFP, the most successful and scientifically supported treatments focus on self management and control of aggressive factors. Most patients suffering from both conditions achieve good long term relief with conservative (reversible) therapy. Scientific research demonstrates that over 50% of TMD patients treated with conservative management have few or no ongoing symptoms of TMD.


The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is a “loose-fitting”, rotating-sliding joint with a fibrocartilage covered, football shaped ball (condyle), fibrous pad (disc), fibrocartilage lined socket (fossa), ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and nerves. The fibrous disc functions as a moving shock absorber and stabilizer between the condyle and the fossa. As the jaw opens, the condyle rotates and slides forward with the disc.

temporomandibular joint


The muscles of mastication (jaw muscles) connect the mandible (lower jaw) to the maxillae (upper jaw), skull and neck. These muscles open, close, protrude, and move the jaw side to side, enabling you to talk, chew and swallow. The supporting muscles of mastication (neck and shoulder muscles) stabilize the skull on the neck during jaw function.

TMJ Physical Therapy

Click the video to learn what Physical Therapy can do to help TMJ problems including close lock and non-reducing disc disorders.  Learn why seeking the right physical therapist with advanced training and credentials is important.

Can Physical Therapy Help TMj?

Physical Therapy, performed by a licensed TMJ physical therapist, is well recognized as an effective and conservative treatment for musculoskeletal disorders such as TMD and CFP. Physical therapy aids in identifying and reducing contributing factors to musculoskeletal problems, reduces inflammation, restores function and promotes repair and regeneration of injured tissues.

Freedom Physical Therapy Services is proud to have our TMD and CFP specialists who have received training and certification from Dr. Mariano Rocabado and the University of St. Augustine. Dr. Mariano Rocabado is a leading national expert in the field of TMD and Craniofacial Pain. In addition, our specialists have attended an Orofacial Pain and TMD residency with the University of Minnesota Dental School. Freedom has TMJ specialists who are members of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain (AAOP), and has one of the few physical therapists in the United States recognized as a Certified Cervical and Temporomandibular Therapist with the AAOP.