As you dine at your favorite restaurant surrounded by some of your best friends, you're probably not thinking about how vital your jaw is to this special pastime. But from chewing (mastication), biting, and clenching to speaking and singing, your lateral pterygoid muscle, also called the external pterygoid muscle, plays a pivotal role in your jaw's essential functions. Learning about this muscle may be especially helpful if you are ever diagnosed with a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. While we all take our jaw's functions for granted, it's when it begins to hurt that we realize how essential it is for our daily needs. We're here to tell you more about the anatomy of your lateral pterygoid muscle, how it may contribute to TMJ pain, and how to find relief!