Temporomandibular disorders. Part 1: Anatomy and examination/diagnosis

Stephen M. Shaffer, Jean Michel Brismée, Phillip S. Sizer, Carol A. Courtney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are a heterogeneous group of diagnoses affecting the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and surrounding tissues. A variety of methods for evaluating and managing TMD have been proposed within the physical therapy profession but these sources are not peer-reviewed and lack updates from scientific literature. The dental profession has provided peer-reviewed sources that lack thoroughness with respect to the neuromusculoskeletal techniques utilized by physical therapists. The subsequent void creates the need for a thorough, research informed, and peer-reviewed source regarding TMD evaluation and management for physical therapists. This paper is the first part in a two-part series that seeks to fill the current void by providing a brief but comprehensive outline for clinicians seeking to provide services for patients with TMD. Part one focuses on anatomy and pathology, arthro- and osteokinematics, epidemiology, history taking, and physical examination as they relate to TMD. An appreciation of the anatomical and mechanical features associated with the TMJ can serve as a foundation for understanding a patient's clinical presentation. Performance of a thorough patient history and clinical examination can guide the clinician toward an improved diagnostic process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-12
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Diagnosis
  • Physical examination
  • Review
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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