Jaw Joint Pain can be certain specific causes other than general Jaw Pain that most people relate to TMJ.
So, lets break them down a bit.
You could have general Jaw Joint Pain caused by the common Muscle Pain situation. That type of jaw pain is usually caused by Stress and clenching. The TMJ Splint is the best answer for that.
Or, if it is Truly localized in the Jaw joint area just in front of the ear, you could have a number of situations.
-You could have injured your jaw by blunt trauma to the jaw joint area, face or lower jaw (the mandible). If that's the case, you probably have some tissue trauma, tear or bruising.
This causes inflammation in the tissues of the joint capsule. You need to have the most relaxation possible of the joint. Chew soft foods and just don't use your jaw if you don't need to. The best TMJ Therapy for this is a well adjusted TMJ Splint made from your local TMJ Doc.
-You could have inflammation just by too much pressure in the jaw joint from clenching. Again, this is a bit different than most Muscle Pain TMJ jaw Pain. This inflammation can cause severe pain, and just like the Trauma cases, you need complete relaxation of the joint. The TMJ Splint is the way to go with this. Don't mess around with the "Stress" reduction therapies for this one, it'll take too long for relief. Get the Splint.
-You could have bone spurs irritating the joint tissues. In severe cases, surgery is needed to cut off the spurs. Only when the pain bony spurs create which cannot be eliminated by the more conservative therapies, that I would recommend surgery.
-You could have deterioration of the Condyle. That is usually caused by an Arthritic situation. Either common Arthritis or Rhuematoid Arthritis. In either case, treat it with one aspirin per day and Seek evaluation by your TMJ Doc for a Splint and Bite evaluation. Arthritic changes in the Joint capsule can progressively worsen the bite and cause further problems.
-Could be a tumor or cancer in the joint. I fortunately haven't seen cancer in the joint yet in my 15 years of treating TMJ patients. But I have colleagues that have.