What is Jaw Pain?Jaw pain is often caused by a dysfunction of the muscles and joints such as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which control the movements of the mouth. The TMJ is the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull and there is one on each side of the face. These joints allow movements involving the mouth such as eating, speaking and yawning. However, any dysfunction of the surrounding muscles and/or the TMJ itself can make these movements difficult and painful. Although the common cause for pain in the jaw is often from dysfunctional muscles that control the movement rather than the joint itself. If the joint is affected then this is known as Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) can cause pain, abnormal jaw movements and joint clicking when chewing.
- Discomfort or pain in the jaw, especially when eating
- Abnormal jaw movement
- Pain in front of the ear closer to the face
- Clicking or grating noise when eating, yawning or when opening the mouth
CausesThere are a variety of aspects which can cause TMD pain.
- Muscular dysfunction is the most common form of TMD, which involves dysfunction and/or pain of the muscles that control jaw function, mouth and face.
- Jaw dislocation which may cause internal imbalance of the joint alignment causing abnormal jaw movements
- Degenerative joint disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia or gout
- Injuries to head and neck such as whiplash
- Jaw clenching and teeth grinding, as a result of stress
TreatmentSince TMD is mainly caused by muscular dysfunction, Myotherapists can treat this by addressing the short and tight muscles that are causing pain. This is done by restarting the firing pattern of the muscles that control the mouth, face and jaw movements. You will also have corrective exercises you can do at home to help fasttrack your recovery
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