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J Man Manip Ther. 2014 Feb;22(1):2-12. doi: 10.1179/2042618613Y.0000000060.

Temporomandibular disorders. Part 1: anatomy and examination/diagnosis.

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Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, School of Allied Health Sciences, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, USA.
Department of Physical Therapy, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA.


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methods for evaluating and managing TMD have been proposed within the physical therapy profession but these sources are not peer-reviewed and lack updates from scientific literature.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.


Diagnosis; Physical examination; Review; Temporomandibular joint disorders

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