Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, commonly called "TMJ," are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. In some cases, the symptoms of TMJ disorders may go away without treatment. If your symptoms persist, your dentist may recommend a variety of treatment options, often more than one to be done at the same time. A person may suffer from one or more of these conditions at the same time. Some people have other health problems that co-exist with TMJ disorders, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep disturbances or fibromyalgia, a painful condition that affects muscles and other soft tissues throughout the body. These disorders share some common symptoms, which suggest that they may share similar underlying mechanisms of disease. However, it is not known whether they have a common cause. Most people with TMD have relatively mild or periodic symptoms which may improve on their own within weeks or months with simple home therapy. Self-care practices, such as eating soft foods, applying ice or moist heat, and avoiding extreme jaw movements (such as wide yawning, loud singing, and gum chewing) are helpful in easing symptoms. Additional studies are needed on the safety and effectiveness of most TMJ treatments for jaw joint and muscle disorders. Experts strongly recommend using the most conservative, reversible treatments possible. Conservative treatments do not invade the tissues of the face, jaw, or joint, or involve surgery. Reversible treatments do not cause permanent changes in the structure or position of the jaw or teeth. Even when TM disorders have become persistent, most patients still do not need aggressive types of treatment.