Any time you begin to feel pain in a joint, you should always consult with a qualified health care professional In this case, you should see a primary care physician
such as a family doctor
or even run it by a dentist
. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. Pain in this joint is called temporomandibular joint disorder, but for whatever reason the disorder is referred to by the public as just "TMJ". TMJ disorder is a inflammation of the temporomandibular joint. Symptoms are pain in the joint, difficulty chewing, headache, earache, face ache, and a popping sound when the jaw is opened or closed. There are many different causes including jaw position disorders, disorders of the teeth, grinding teeth at night etc. All these possibilities would need to be sorted out by a doctor. Many of the treatments involve manipulating the jaw or teeth and thus, dentists are often involved with the treatment. I suggest that you schedule an appointment to see you primary care physician. He or she can take a detailed history of your symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. Hopefully the popping sound you hear in your jaw is the only sign you have for TMJ disorder. Good luck.