Jaw Pain: Have You Ever Suffered From It?

Jaw pain often comes from behaviors that you perform without even realizing it, such as poor posture, stress, or nervousness. Learning to manage these is essential to alleviate this condition.
Jaw Pain: Have You Ever Suffered From It?

Last update: 16 May, 2021

Jaw pain is described as a throbbing, uncomfortable pain that can range from mild to severe, depending on its cause. Although it often doesn’t have its origin in something serious, it’s essential to pay attention to it because it can be a symptom of disorders such as bruxism or a joint problem.

In view of this, the American College of Prosthodontists recommends that we consult a professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. As much as possible, we should avoid self-medication, as there are certain conditions that, in particular, require medical treatment.

Jaw pain: Causes you should consider

A woman with jaw pain.

We should point out that jaw pain can appear in various parts of the face. Some people notice it around one ear more than the other, while others suffer discomfort when they’re eating or talking.

According to a publication in The International Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Implants, this problem is associated with the anatomy of the temporomandibular joint. This joint houses a complex network of nerves and tissues that can become inflamed or suffer from other disorders.

Pain that’s centered around the ears

Sometimes the pain associated with jaw pain is concentrated around one or both ears. The discomfort can radiate to the upper parts of your face, even to the top of your head.

This joint pain will appear especially when you talk, yawn, and eat. Sometimes it can be confused with a simple toothache, but in reality, it could be a sign of the erosion of the temporomandibular joint itself.

There could be a problem with the joint cartilage disc or the ligaments and nerves in the region. These are all factors that a specialist will need to evaluate. Remember, however, that bone loss in the joints is something that can occur with age.

When you can’t completely open your jaw

If you’ve ever felt as if you cannot fully open your jaw, stop and think about how your life has been in the last few days.

When you don’t properly manage stress and pressure from your environment, it can generate a “flight” response in your brain, which results in muscle tension, accelerated heart rate, and rigidity in the body that focuses on the areas of the shoulders, neck, and face.

Almost without realizing it, you may be tensing your jaw, grinding your teeth during the night, and experiencing symptoms like ringing in the ears, headaches, and trouble opening or closing your jaw.

This problem will disappear with time, but it can be very disabling while it lasts. As a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association suggests, the origin is usually stress, which you must learn to manage properly.

Bruxism

A woman grinding her teeth.

On more than one occasion we’ve talked about jaw pain associated with a behavior that much of the population does at night without realizing it: grinding their teeth.

Bruxism can occur due to poor tooth alignment or even night jitters caused by a poor diet, the stress accumulated over the course of the day, or the inability to enjoy restful and relaxing sleep.

Bruxism requires proper professionals who can recommend solutions like wearing a mouth guard to sleep. As shown in a review published in The Journal of Indian Prosthodontic Society, bruxism is also one of the most common causes of jaw pain.

Simple techniques for treating jaw pain

For adequate management of jaw pain, it’s essential to have a medical or dental diagnosis. After a physical examination and complementary tests, the professional will be able to determine the possible cause of the pain. Subsequently, they may suggest medication or other therapeutic measures.

Over-the-counter analgesics may be an option for pain relief. However, they shouldn’t be taken in excess and don’t replace medical treatment. Other measures that may be considered include the following:

Be aware of your posture

One way to reduce the symptoms associated with temporomandibular disorder (jaw pain) is by taking care of your posture, especially in the region of your shoulder, neck, and head.

When you have poor posture, tension in the neck and jaw can appear; in fact, this is something you may not even realize while you’re at work, watching TV, or talking on the phone.

Remember to always pay attention to the back/neck axis: they should be in line, straight, and relaxed. In addition, both your lips and teeth should rest together. Your tongue, meanwhile, should rest against your palate while you breathe through your nose.

Your diet

A woman preparing a healthy recipe.

Diet is something we must consider if we want to treat jaw pain. Thus, we should avoid the consumption of foods that tend to cause inflammation. These include sugar, fats, excessive coffee, or stimulating drinks with preservatives and sugars. On the other hand, it’s highly advisable to increase the intake of vitamin C and calcium.

Manage your emotions and combat stress

We know that it’s easy to recommend ways to manage stress properly, but then when you try to carry it out it becomes a labyrinth of walls and difficulty. It’s important to remind yourself that you need to be calm so that your nerves and blood pressure can care for your health and lead to a long life.

Try to find time throughout the day to relax. One good option that always helps take care of the body and mind is to practice yoga.

Jaw pain is a symptom that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms. As it can be a sign of some diseases, it’s important to seek professional attention. Treatment will depend on the diagnosis.

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